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Carleton E. Watkins (American, 1829–1916)
LOT ID: 68067
Wawona - 28 feet diameter, 275 feet high - Mariposa Grove, Yosemite, CA, ie. circa 1861

Albumen Print
9.31 х 7.63 in. (23.65 x 19.38 cm.)
Other, titled, numbered B2452 with "Taber Photo., San Francisco" in the negative.
Print/Casting Year ie. circa 1876
Foundry/Publisher I. W. Taber
Lot description
Carleton E. Watkins, Wawona - 28 feet diameter, 275 feet high - Mariposa Grove, Yosemite, CA, c. 1861. Vintage albumen print, 9 5/16 x 7 5/8 inches; (23.6 x 19.4 cm); on original mount, 18 x 13 inches (45.7 x 33 cm). Titled and numbered in the negative.

Negative by Watkins, printed by Taber. Print is in excellent condition with nice rich tones.

Carleton E. Watkins
b. 1829, d. 1916

At twenty, Carleton Watkins headed out to California to make his fortune. After working as a daguerreotype operator in San Jose, he established his own practice and soon made his first visit to the Yosemite Valley. There he made thirty mammoth plate and one hundred stereograph views that were among the first photographs of Yosemite seen in the East. Partly on the strength of Watkins's photographs, President Abraham Lincoln signed the 1864 bill that declared the valley inviolable, thus paving the way for the National Parks system.

In 1865 Watkins became official photographer for the California State Geological Survey. He opened his own Yosemite Art Gallery in San Francisco two years later. The walls were lined with 18 x 22-inch prints in black walnut frames with gilt-edged mats. Such elegant presentation did not come cheap, and Watkins was accused of charging exorbitant prices. A poor businessman, he declared bankruptcy in 1874 and his negatives and gallery were sold to photographer Isaiah Taber, who began to publish Watkins's images under his own name. Watkins, however, continued to photograph, and seven years later became manager of the Yosemite Art Gallery, then under different ownership. The San Francisco earthquake and fire of 1906 destroyed the contents of his studio, which he had intended to preserve at Stanford University. [getty]
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Sales Results for Comparable Works

  • Carleton E. Watkins

    At the Hacienda, New Almaden, Santa Clara County, CA
    albumen print, mntd
    (H 15.5, W 20.5) in.
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    Sold for: US$3,600
    Tuesday, December 13, 2011
    Swann Galleries
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  • Carleton E. Watkins

    The valley from Mareposa Trail
    albumen print, mntd
    (H 8.0, W 12.0) in.
    (20.3 x 30.5) cm.
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    Tuesday, October 19, 2010
    Swann Galleries
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  • Carleton E. Watkins

    The Devil's Slide, Weber Cañon, W.P.R.R., Utah
    albumen print, oval
    (H 5, W 6.3) in.
    (12.7 x 15.9) cm.
    Sold for: US$3,840
    Tuesday, March 23, 2010
    Swann Galleries
    Lot 00008
  • Carleton E. Watkins

    First view of the Yosemite Valley from the Mariposa Trail
    imperial albumen print, mntd
    (H 8.1, W 12.1) in.
    (20.6 x 30.8) cm.
    Sold for: US$1,586
    Sunday, September 20, 2009
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    Lot 04217
  • Carleton E. Watkins

    Nevada Fall and Liberty Cap
    albumen print, mntd
    (H 8.0, W 12.0) in.
    (20.3 x 30.5) cm.
    Sold for: US$2,400
    Thursday, February 19, 2009
    Swann Galleries
    Lot 00016
  • Attributed To Carleton E. Watkins

    California oak, Santa Clara Valley
    albumen print, mntd
    (H 12.0, W 9.5) in.
    (30.5 x 24.1) cm.
    Sold for: US$32,200
    Monday, October 15, 2007
    Sotheby's New York
    Lot 00017
  • Carleton E. Watkins

    Mirror view of El Capitan
    gelatin silver print, mntd
    (H 8.0, W 12.0) in.
    (20.3 x 30.5) cm.
    Sold for: US$1,195
    Friday, May 25, 2007
    Heritage Auctions Texas
    Lot 26001
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