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Estzan-Nap-Pa

1910 Elbridge Ayer Burbank Born: Harvard, Illinois 1858 Died: San Francisco, California 1949 oil on canvas 19 1/8 x 12 1/4 in. (48.5 x 31.0 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Bequest of Victor Justice Evans 1985.66.362,136 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 4th Floor, 33A


Luce Center Label

Elbridge Ayer Burbank created nearly one thousand paintings of Native Americans between 1897 and 1910. All of his portraits feature an indistinct background and either a bust-length or full-length view of his subject. Every choice he made was intended to document as much information about the subject’s outward appearance as possible. In this portrait of a Navajo woman, Burbank shows Estzan-Nap-Pa full length in order to display her dress. By turning her head just slightly to provide a three-quarter view of her face, Burbank also emphasized the woman’s features. Burbank was interested in systems of classification that categorized people’s behavior according to their appearance. He believed it was more important to preserve Native American “types” for future study than to capture his sitter’s personality. He wrote that his portraits “would be valuable to a Museum as it will not be long before [the Indians are] all gone forever.” (Wolfe, American Indian Portraits: Elbridge Ayer Burbank in the West (1897-1910), 2000)

Keywords

Dress - ethnic - Indian dress

Ethnic - Indian - Navajo

Portrait female - Estzan-Nap-Pa - full length

painting

paint - oil

fabric - canvas

About Elbridge Ayer Burbank

Born: Harvard, Illinois 1858 Died: San Francisco, California 1949

More works in the collection by
Elbridge Ayer Burbank