Tantalus Cañon, Utah

Artist: William Henry Jackson (American, 1843–1942)

Date: 1870s

Medium: Albumen silver print from glass negative

Classification: Photographs

Credit Line: Gift of A. Hyatt Mayor, 1973

Accession Number: 1973.641.3


William Henry Jackson was employed for eight years on the western survey headed by geologist Ferdinand V. Hayden, which began in 1870 in the Uinta Mountains and eventually embraced the Grand Canyon and the Yellowstone River. During his first two years with the survey, Jackson worked closely with the American landscape painters Thomas Moran and Sanford Gifford, often setting up his camera next to their easels and recording the scene from an identical vantage point. Soon after this initial artistic apprenticeship, however, Jackson went on to develop his own graphic vision, impressively realized in this tightly composed image of obdurate canyon walls cut by a narrow ribbon of water and sky.