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John K. Hillers
1892 (or later)
Glass positive, hand-coloured
28 x 32 ins
Cowan's Auctions, Inc
2010, American History, Including the Civil War, June 11, Lot: 412
An exquisite, hand-colored positive, from a negative taken in the summer of 1892 during Hillers' last trip west for the United States Geological Survey. Fowler (1989, 134-135) has suggested that Hillers was sent West by John Wesley Powell to take photographs for the coming World's Columbian Exposition. This plate, along with other Hillers images in this sale, was found in the home of Alonzo C. Bell, of Westfield, New Jersey, in 1960. Bell had been the Head of the United States Patent Office, and presumably received this and other photographs offered here through some political connection or friendship with Powell or Hillers.
The tinting of this image is breathtaking. Cowan's has sold several of the mammoth-sized transparencies in the last 15 years. None of those previously sold were tinted; an exemplary work worthy of a museum collection.