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. The present image of the young city of Portland was the first part of three-panel panorama. Notable in the foreground is a baseball diamond cut into the turf between two fields, an indication of the sport’s popularity in the city which was home to the first formally organized baseball team in the Pacific Northwest, the Pioneer Baseball Club.   


    This print comes originally from an album of Watkins’s views of Oregon owned by the University Club of New York City. This 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

    • Literature

      Palmquist and Fraenkel, Carleton E. Watkins, pl. 89 (this print)
      Palmquist and Nickel, The Art of Perception, pl. 52, p. 122
      Alinder, ed., Photographs of the Columbia River and Oregon, pl. 2 (this print)
      Naef and Hult-Lewis, Carleton Watkins: The Complete Mammoth Photographs, p. 188, fig. 434
      The Stanford Albums, p. 258, cat. 107


City of Portland, Willamette River, Oregon

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

$20,000 - 30,000 

Contact Specialist

Sarah Krueger
Head of Department, Photographs

Vanessa Hallett
Worldwide Head of Photographs and Chairwoman, Americas


New York Auction 4 April 2023