The J. Paul Getty Museum

[Solar Eclipse]

Object Details

Title:

[Solar Eclipse]

Artist/Maker:

Carleton Watkins (American, 1829 - 1916)

Culture:

American

Place:

Santa Lucia Range, California, United States (Place Created)

Date:

January 1, 1889

Medium:

Albumen silver print

Object Number:

88.XM.92.83

Dimensions:

16.5 × 21.6 cm (6 1/2 × 8 1/2 in.)

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Object Description

Standing atop Mount Santa Lucia in northern California at approximately 3:50 p.m. on January 1, 1889, Carleton Watkins was able to make only one exposure during the instant of complete eclipse. Accompanied by professors from the newly created University of California and the United States Naval Observatory, Watkins waited slightly more than an hour for the moon to begin its movement and assume its temporary position directly in front of the sun. The radiating sun, its brilliance hidden by the black moon, lies suspended over a sea of clouds whose rippling waves dominate the sky. Only the inclusion of the treetops in the foreground serves to ground the image in a familiar reality.

Exhibitions
Exhibitions
Persistent Themes: Notable Photography Acquisitions, 1985 - 1990 (June 5 to September 2, 1990)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), June 5 to September 2, 1990
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
Brought to Light (October 18, 2008 to May 5, 2009)
  • San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (San Francisco), October 18, 2008 to January 15, 2009
In Focus: The Sky (July 15 to December 4, 2011)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), July 26 to December 4, 2011
Bibliography
Bibliography

Capturing Time: A Celebration of Photography, exh. brochure (Los Angeles: The J. Paul Getty Museum), fig. 3.

Watkins, Carleton E. and Weston Naef, ed. Carleton Watkins: Photographs from the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: The Museum, 1997).