Estzan-Nap-Pa

  • Elbridge Ayer Burbank, Estzan-Nap-Pa, 1910, oil on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Bequest of Victor Justice Evans, 1985.66.362,136

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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)

Title
Estzan-Nap-Pa
Artist
Date
1910
Location
Dimensions
19 1/8 x 12 1/4 in. (48.5 x 31.0 cm)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Bequest of Victor Justice Evans

Mediums
Mediums Description
oil on canvas
Classifications
Keywords
  • Dress – ethnic – Indian dress
  • Portrait female – Estzan-Nap-Pa – full length
Object Number
1985.66.362,136
Palette
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI