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Timothy H. O'Sullivan, North America, 1840-1882, b. Ireland
Ancient Ruins in the CaƱon de Chelle, New Mexico Territory, 1873

Albumen print
Image: 10 1/2 x 7 7/8 inches (26.67 x 20 cm) Framed: 22 x 18 inches (55.88 x 45.72 cm)

Gift of Hallmark Cards, Inc., 2005.27.240

Location: Not on view

Timothy O’Sullivan was one of the greatest photographers of the 19th-century American West. After recording the Civil War (1861-65), O’Sullivan worked as the photographer for two of the most important government-sponsored surveys of the American West—those of Clarence King and Lt. George M. Wheeler—between 1867 and 1873. O’Sullivan was the first photographer to record such now-famous scenes as this one, a view of ancient Anasazi cliff dwellings. In an act of aesthetic brilliance, O’Sullivan used a vertical format to record an essentially horizontal subject—accentuating the rock cliff’s dramatic upward sweep.

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