Pioneering American photographer John Karl Hillers' works head to auction
His images show an extraordinary record of a Native American world about to change forever
A series of fascinating and important 19th century portraits of Native Americans by the pioneering German/American photographer, John Karl Hillers are to go up for sale in Bonhams India and Beyond sale at Knightsbridge.
Hillers emigrated with his family to the USA from his native Hanover in 1852 when he was just nine years old. He fought on the Union side in the Civil War and re-enlisted in the army once the conflict was over.
On leaving the service in 1870 he took a job as a teamster in Salt Lake City where he met the man who was to change his life, the explorer and early anthropologist John Wesley Powell. Hillers signed up as a boatman for Powell's second expedition down the Colorado River in 1871, but was soon helping out with the photography.
By the time Powell led the first expedition by European Americans into the Grand Canyon the following year Hillers had become the team's chief photographer.
For the next 20 years he explored and photographed the American West becoming especially well known for his sensitive and dignified images of Native Americans.
For several years he worked for the American Bureau of Ethnology leaving an extensive and priceless record of a world on the brink of irrevocable change. The 15 images are individually priced and range from £200-1,500.
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