View from the Sentinel Dome, Yosemite, 1865–66
Carleton E. Watkins (American, 1829–1916)
Albumen silver prints from glass negatives; (.1) 15 7/8 x 20 1/2 in. (40.3 x 52.1 cm); (.2) 15 3/4 x 20 11/16 in. (40 x 52.5 cm); (.3) 16 1/16 x 20 11/16 in. (40.8 x 52.5 cm)
Purchase, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, 1989 (1989.1084.1–.3)
Watkins made his name with views of Yosemite Valley, which he photographed repeatedly over a twenty-year period, beginning in 1861. He was a virtuoso practitioner of the difficult wet-collodion process using "mammoth" glass plates, which rendered the vastness of the landscape and its infinite details with unsurpassed scope and clarity. During a visit to Yosemite in 1865–66, Watkins ascended the Sentinel Dome and made a series of three photographs from this unparalleled vantage point, each a self-sufficient picture. When seen together, they form a broad and encompassing embrace of the valley.