Image: 40.3 x 52.5 cm (15 7/8 x 20 11/16 in.)
Mount: 54.4 x 66.4 cm (21 7/16 x 26 1/8 in.)
Gilman Collection, Gift of The Howard Gilman Foundation, 2005
Not on view
When Watkins exhibited his mammoth prints in 1869, a critic remarked, "They justly deserve the encomiums passed upon them. For clearness, strength, and softness of tone, these picturesque views are unexcelled; and while they present truthful representations of the scene chosen, they are an earnest of the artistic skill of the photographer." The site of this photograph (known today as the Carquinez Strait) is a narrow, tidal body of water twenty miles inland from the mouth of San Francisco Bay. Part of a busy, deep-water shipping channel to Sacramento, the strait (and the surrounding shoreland) is still beloved for its extraordinary beauty and diversity of wildlife and flora. The Star Flour Mills (center) is featured by Robert Louis Stevenson in The Silverado Squatters (1883), his prescient travelogue about the California wine country of Napa Valley. Stevenson's account of his 1880 honeymoon discusses his journey from San Francisco to Calistoga and Mount Saint Helena, where he and his new wife and stepson lived for two months as "squatters" in the bunkhouse of an abandoned mining camp.
Inscription: Inscribed in black ink on mount, recto BC: "Strait of Carquennes // From South Vallejo."
University Club, New York; San Francisco Mercantile Library (sold, Swann Auction Galleries, New York, May 10, 1979); [Hastings Galleries, New York]; [Graphics International]; Gilman paper Company Collection, New York, May 29, 1979
Palais de Tokyo, Paris. "Procédés, Procédés," October 7, 1987–November 30, 1987.
Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas. "Photo-Kunst," November 11, 1989–January 14, 1990.
Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nantes. "150 ans de photographie," November 16, 1990–January 14, 1991.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Waking Dream: Photography's First Century, Selections from the Gilman Paper Company Collection," May 25, 1993–July 4, 1993.
Edinburgh International Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland. "The Waking Dream: Photography's First Century, Selections from the Gilman Paper Company Collection," August 7, 1993–October 2, 1993.
National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. "The Waking Dream: Photography's First Century, Selections from the Gilman Paper Company Collection," June 19, 1994–September 11, 1994.
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. "Carleton Watkins: The Art of Perception," May 28, 1999–September 7, 1999.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Carleton Watkins: The Art of Perception," October 5, 1999–January 9, 2000.
National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. "Carleton Watkins: The Art of Perception," February 6, 2000–April 30, 2000.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Old Faces and Places: American Photographs, 1845-1870," February 3, 2004–April 25, 2004.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Framing a Century: Master Photographers, 1840–1940," June 3, 2008–September 1, 2008.
Apraxine, Pierre. Photographs from the Collection of the Gilman Paper Company. Reeds Springs, Mo.: White Oak Press, 1985. p. 450, pl. 116.
Chevrier, Jean-François. Photo-Kunst: Arbeiten aus 150 Jahren: Du XXeme au XIXeme siecle, Aller et Retour. Stuttgart: Graphische Sammlung, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, 1989. p. 125, pl. 14.
Hambourg, Maria Morris, Pierre Apraxine, Malcolm Daniel, Virginia Heckert, and Jeff L. Rosenheim. The Waking Dream: Photography's First Century, Selections from the Gilman Paper Company Collection. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1993. no. 121, 160, p. 329.