[Desert Sand Hills near Sink of Carson, Nevada]

Object Details

Title:

[Desert Sand Hills near Sink of Carson, Nevada]

Artist/Maker(s):

Timothy H. O'Sullivan (American, about 1840 - 1882)

Culture:

American

Date:

1867

Medium:

Albumen silver print

Dimensions:

22.2 x 29.2 cm (8 3/4 x 11 1/2 in.)

See more

See less

Timothy O'Sullivan's darkroom wagon, pulled by four mules, entered the frame at the right side of the photograph, reached the center of the image, and abruptly U-turned, heading back out of the frame. Footprints leading from the wagon toward the camera reveal the photographer's path. Made at the Carson Sink in Nevada, this image of shifting sand dunes reveals the patterns of tracks recently reconfigured by the wind. The wagon's striking presence in this otherwise barren scene dramatizes the pioneering experience of exploration and discovery in the wide, uncharted landscapes of the American West.

O'Sullivan's photographs from the 1867 Geological Exploration of the Fortieth Parallel expedition were intended to provide information for the purpose of expanding railroads and industry, yet they demonstrate his eye for poetic beauty.

Exhibitions
The Art of Photography: 1839 - 1989 (February 11 to December 23, 1989)
  • Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, February 11 to April 30, 1989
  • National Gallery of Australia, (Canberra), June 1 to August 1, 1989
  • Royal Academy of Arts (London), September 23 to December 23, 1989
Arrows of Time: Photographs from the J. Paul Getty Museum (January 24 to April 2, 1995)
  • Armand Hammer Museum of Art and Cultural Center at UCLA, (Los Angeles), January 24 to April 2, 1995
Capturing Time: A Celebration of Photographs (December 1, 1997 to March 1, 1998)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), December 1, 1997 to March 1, 1998
Photographers of Genius (March 16 to July 25, 2004)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), March 16 to July 25, 2004
Robert Adams: Landscapes of Harmony and Dissonance (February 7 to May 28, 2006)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), February 7 to May 28, 2006
In Focus: The Landscape (August 26, 2008 to January 11, 2009)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), August 26, 2008 to January 11, 2009
Into the Sunset: Photography's Image of the West (March 24 to June 8, 2009) (15)
  • The Museum of Modern Art (New York), March 24 to June 8, 2009
Bibliography

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 7th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2007), p. 301, ill.

Heckert, Virginia. Light, Paper, Process: Reinventing Photography, exh. cat. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2015), p. 109, fig. 27.