[The Cliff House from the Beach]

Carleton Watkins1868 - 1870

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum
Los Angeles, United States

Taken at extreme low tide when the transition from land to sea appears seamless, this photograph conveys the stillness encountered at a scarcely populated tourist destination. The horse and carriage on the sand almost disappear against the shadowy background of a rock face, while spectators on the Cliff House balcony observe from above. Watkins repeatedly photographed the Cliff House at Ocean Beach on the northwest edge of San Francisco's peninsula. This structure, the first of San Francisco's four Cliff Houses, burned down on Christmas Day in 1894. Since then, three additional buildings, all named the Cliff House, have stood on this site overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

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  • Title: [The Cliff House from the Beach]
  • Creator: Carleton Watkins
  • Date: 1868 - 1870
  • Location Created: San Francisco, California, United States
  • Physical Dimensions: 40 x 52.4 cm (15 3/4 x 20 5/8 in.)
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Albumen silver print
  • Source Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
  • Object Type: Print
  • Object Status: Permanent Collection
  • Number: 85.XM.242.1
  • Inscription: (Recto, mount) inscribed in black ink, at lower center, in the style of Fulgenzio Seregni: "The Cliff House / From the Beach."
  • Display Location: Not currently on view
  • Department: Photographs
  • Culture: American
  • Classification: Photographs