Clear Creek Canyon, Colorado

William Henry Jacksonc. 1899

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

For over half a century, William Henry Jackson photographed the American West as it was mapped and settled after the American Civil War. He was first employed by the U.S. Geological and Geographical Survey of the Territories, and later by the various railroads that had begun to crisscross the United States. He documented towns, settlers, railroad works, and the scenic views along the tracks. In his picture of Clear Creek Canyon, the ragged contours of a V-shaped cut, made for the rails’ passage through the Rockies, were dramatic and alien to Americans in the East and Midwest, where mountains could best be described as rolling rather than thrusting. Jackson increased the drama by coloring his black-and-white photograph in this photolithograph version. Complementary colors flow toward the picture’s center: red rocks, a blue stream, and a cloudy blue sky.

Show lessRead more


  • Title: Clear Creek Canyon, Colorado
  • Creator: William Henry Jackson
  • Date: c. 1899
  • Physical Dimensions: w39.7 x h51.1 cm (sheet)
  • Type: Photograph
  • External Link: MFAH
  • Medium: Photolithograph
  • Credit Line: The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, gift of Mike and Mickey Marvins

Additional Items