The J. Paul Getty Museum

[Big Tree Felton (Redwood), Santa Cruz]

Object Details

Title:

[Big Tree Felton (Redwood), Santa Cruz]

Artist/Maker:

Carleton Watkins (American, 1829 - 1916)

Culture:

American

Place:

Santa Cruz, California, United States (Place Created)

Date:

1880s

Medium:

Albumen silver print

Object Number:

98.XM.21.7

Dimensions:

53.3 × 36.2 cm (21 × 14 1/4 in.)

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Object Description

Relationships between small and large, dark and light, and man and nature are all evident in this monumental portrait of a giant coastal redwood in Santa Cruz, California. Carleton Watkins, the photographer, composed this image with two diminutive figures at the base of the behemoth to illustrate the tree's grand scale. While the sun beams down across the left side of the photograph, a dark shadow fills the foreground. Watkins made numerous pictures of California's trees, predominantly in Yosemite and Santa Cruz, throughout the late 1800s. His photographs were exhibited on the East Coast, testifying to people that the outlandish stories they had read and heard about the western wilderness were true. Watkins's pictures were instrumental in the successful effort to reserve Yosemite as a national park.

Exhibitions
Exhibitions
Tradition and Innovation: Recent Additions to the Photographs Collection (June 20 to October 8, 2000)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), June 20 to October 8, 2000