Faces of the Frontier in San Diego

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

A photo exhibit at the San Diego History Center through June 6th explores themes important to the development of art in the Coachella Valley, including the coming of the railroad and the exploits of surveyors  who first captured the desert on film and canvas.

Faces of the Frontier: Photographic Portraits from the American West, 1845-1924, is a traveling exhibit curated by the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. This is your only chance to see the exhibit in the West.

Included are more than 100 photographs of figures like Sitting Bull, Kit Carson, Jesse James, Geronimo, Annie Oakley and Brigham Young, some taken by well-known photographers such as Edward Curtis and Eadweard Muybridge. There are portraits of early Western photographers and artists such as Albert Bierstadt and Thomas Moran. The early photographers played a big role in reporting back to Easterners about this place called the West, molding perceptions of the place as they went.

Survey artist Thomas Hill, "Palm Valley"

A catalogue (University of Oklahoma Press) is available for $45. There’s a free downloadable audio tour with commentary by Sandra Day O’Conner and others. This exhibit, along with the current Oceanside Museum of Art exhibit on WWII watercolors, presents an excellent reason for desert dwellers to journey over the hill to San Diego this summer.

For more information: www.sandiegohistory.org or