Eagle Creek, Columbia River

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Eagle Creek, Columbia River

United States, 1867
Photographs
Albumen silver print
Image: 15 3/4 × 20 5/8 in. (40.01 × 52.39 cm) Primary support: 15 3/4 × 20 5/8 in. (40.01 × 52.39 cm) Secondary support: 21 5/8 × 26 7/8 in. (54.93 × 68.26 cm) Mat: 24 × 28 in. (60.96 × 71.12 cm)
The Marjorie and Leonard Vernon Collection, gift of The Annenberg Foundation and promised gift of Carol Vernon and Robert Turbin (M.2008.40.2304)
Not currently on public view

History

Eagle Creek, Columbia River was included in a rare album of photographs by Carleton E. Watkins acquired by Maggi Weston, proprietor of the Weston Gallery, and Marjorie and Leonard Vernon....
Eagle Creek, Columbia River was included in a rare album of photographs by Carleton E. Watkins acquired by Maggi Weston, proprietor of the Weston Gallery, and Marjorie and Leonard Vernon. Relaying the story, Weston wrote:

"When the Watkins album came up at auction it was fabulous. I saw it and called Len and said, we have to get the whole album! We were up against The Met. It was going up and up and up. I got back on the phone and said Len, I’m gonna get this. He said you want it that bad, just get it Mag… they had first pick, we each took a photograph and sold the rest… Then we did a book on the ordering of the intact album."

While the album’s sale price was considered high at the time, its value is considerably higher today. Denise Bethel, Senior Vice President and Head of Department for Photographs at Sothebys contemplating this acquisition in relation to the growth of the photography market, wrote:

"I learned very quickly about the sensational auction at Swann (Auction House) that had taken place the year before, when Maggi Weston, backed by the Vernons, had paid what was then a small fortune for one of the few Carleton Watkins mammoth-plates albums to come to auction. It is a story that has since made its way into the legends of the market, and I can tell you that it would have taken nerves of steel to go that high—to $100,000—on any photographic property in 1979. Single photographs from that album have since sold for close to half a million dollars, but who knew then what the future held?"
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Bibliography

  • Road Trip: Photography of the American West: Photographies XIXe-XXIe Siècles du Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Bordeaux: Musée des Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux, 2014.