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Devil's Canyon, Geysers, Looking Down

Artist:
Carleton E. Watkins (American, 1829–1916)
Date:
1868–70
Medium:
Albumen silver print from glass negative
Dimensions:
39.8 x 52.4 cm. (15 11/16 x 20 5/8 in.)
Classification:
Photographs
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1989
Accession Number:
1989.1082
Not on view
This tortured landscape shows Devil's Canyon, which is cited in William Bentley's Hand-Book of the Pacific Coast (1884) as a "favored resort for pleasure seekers" from nearby San Francisco. Located in Sonoma County, its chief feature was a crevasse six feet in diameter known as the "Steam Pipe," a Dantean inferno from which steam bellowed forth with a blast that often exceeded the scream of a locomotive whistle. The tiny figure on the left, a surrogate for the viewer, is rare in Watkins' work and is thought to be the photographer himself.
Inscription: Inscribed in pencil on mount, recto LC: "CEW.243.X"; inscribed in pencil on mount, recto LC: "2 [encircled]"
Fraenkel Gallery

Date of negative: c. 1868-70.
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