El Capitan, Yosemite, 1878-1881
mammoth-plate albumen print, mounted on board
printed title 'El Capitan 3600 feet' (mount, recto); credited, titled and dated 'c. 1984' on accompanying gallery label
image/sheet: 20 5/8 x 15 7/8 in. (52.3 x 40.3 cm.)
mount: 27 1/2 x 20 in. (69.8 x 50.7 cm.)
The Weston Gallery, Carmel, California;
acquired from the above by the Collection of 7-Eleven, Inc.;
Sotheby's, New York, April 26, 2001, lot 21;
acquired from the above sale by the present owner.
Weston Naef and Christine Hult-Lewis, Carleton Watkins: The Complete Mammoth Photographs, The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, 2011, p. 65.

Lot Essay

The Great Yosemite Valley was the natural cathedral within which Carleton Watkins made his greatest artistic offerings. According to Naef, with Yosemite Falls as the center of a twenty five mile radius, 'Watkins created an ambitious body of work. He produced more pictures in or near Yosemite Valley than in any other location.' The grandeur of the Great Valley left visitors dumbstruck; it was amply evident through photographs, particularly those of Watkins, whose eye for vantage points was unequalled.

Naef and Hult-Lewis locate three other prints from this negative, including one at the Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley, the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri, and the Royal Geographical Society, London (Naef and Hult-Lewis, Carleton Watkins, p. 65).

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