Carleton Watkins - Photographs New York Tuesday, April 4, 2023 | Phillips

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  • Carleton Watkins ventured into Oregon in 1867, possibly under the auspices of the Oregon Steam Navigation Company who may have wished to have Watkins’s images to show off the beauty of the country’s Pacific coast. Whatever the reason for his trip, Watkins seems to have pursued his own agenda, driven by his own highly evolved sense of the landscape and man’s affect upon it.


    This print comes originally from an album of Carleton Watkins’s views of Oregon owned by the University Club of New York City. The album was offered for sale at Swann Galleries on 10 May 1979 where it sold to Margaret W. Weston of The Weston Gallery, Carmel, for $100,000 – a remarkable price in the early days of the auction market for photographs. The album’s photographs were exhibited the following year in the galleries of The Friends of Photography in Carmel, and illustrated in the accompanying catalogue, Carleton E. Watkins: Photographs of the Columbia River and Oregon, published jointly by the Friends and The Weston Gallery, with an introduction by James Alinder and text by David Featherstone and Russ Anderson.

    • Provenance

      The University Club, New York
      Swann Galleries, New York, 10 May 1979
      Weston Gallery, Carmel
      Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco
      Private Collection, Montecito, California

    • Exhibited

      Carleton E. Watkins: Photographs of the Columbia River and Oregon, The Friends of Photography, Carmel, California, 1980
      Carleton Watkins: The Art of Perception, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC (1999 - 2000)

    • Literature

      Alinder, ed., Photographs of the Columbia River and Oregon, pl. 31 (this print)
      Naef and Hult-Lewis, Carleton Watkins: The Complete Mammoth Photographs, p. 208, fig. 484
      The Stanford Albums, p. 265, cat. 136


Islands in the Columbia, Upper Cascades

Mammoth-plate albumen print.
15 3/4 x 20 5/8 in. (40 x 52.4 cm)
Calligraphic title in ink on the mount.

Full Cataloguing

$25,000 - 35,000 

Contact Specialist

Sarah Krueger
Head of Department, Photographs

Vanessa Hallett
Worldwide Head of Photographs and Chairwoman, Americas


New York Auction 4 April 2023