Carleton E. Watkins: Photographs 1861-1874

Carleton E. Watkins: Photographs 1861-1874 (USED)
Carleton E. Watkins: Photographs 1861-1874 (USED)
Carleton E. Watkins: Photographs 1861-1874 (USED)

Carleton Watkins (1829–1916) is widely considered the greatest American photographer of the nineteenth century and arguably the most influential artist of his era. He is best known for his pictures of Yosemite Valley and the nearby Mariposa Grove of giant sequoias. Watkins made his first trip to Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Grove in 1861 just as the Civil War was beginning. His photographs of Yosemite were exhibited in New York for the first time in 1862, as news of the Union’s disastrous defeat at Fredericksburg was landing in newspapers and while the Matthew Brady Studio’s horrific photographs of Antietam were on view. Watkins’s work tied the West to Northern cultural traditions and played a key role in pledging the once-wavering West to Union.

Motivated by Watkins’s pictures, Congress would pass legislation, later signed by Abraham Lincoln, that preserved Yosemite as the prototypical “national park,” the first such act of landscape preservation in the world. Watkins’s photographs helped shape America’s idea of the West, and helped make the West a full participant in the nation. His pictures of California, Oregon, and Nevada, as well as modern-day Washington, Utah, and Arizona, not only introduced entire landscapes to America but were important to the development of American business, finance, agriculture, government policy, and science.

1st edition; published by Fraenkel Gallery, in association with Bedford Arts, Publishers, San Francisco. Essay by Peter E. Palmquist; dust jacket has very light scuffing; tan buckram with brown lettering on cover and spine; former owner's signature in ink on ffep; binding tight; text clean and bright. VG/VG

093849127X (9780938491279)
Publication Date: 
DJ Hardcover