Panoramic bird's-eye view of the Panama Canal, after a watercolor painted by Richard W. Rummell in 1914, the year it was completed. The view shows the canal with five steamships passing through the locks. The scene glows in golden light as if viewed in early morning. The publisher and publication date are not identified on the print, but a smaller version apparently appeared on promotional calendars in 1914, including one in the collection of the Orange County (Florida) Regional History Center.
The canal was then the largest and most expensive construction project ever undertaken by the U.S. government, and celebrated as a triumph of American technological prowess and economic power. Its opening had major implications for the U.S. economy, by drastically shortening the shipping route between the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. A measure of the magnitude of the achievement in 1994, 80 years after it had opened, the Panama Canal was recognized as one of the seven wonders of the modern world by the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Richard W. Rummell was an American artist who specialized in panoramic bird’s-eye views of cities, towns and campuses, which he executed in watercolor for production as prints. Rummell produced an aerial view of Manhattan for the 1896 edition of King’s Views of New York. Speaking of that image, the art historian Douglas Tallack notes that Rummell’s style “mixes genres and aims for artistic effects while sitting easily within the popular culture of the period, including photography and early film” (Brooker et al.). Rummell is also well known for his series bird’s-eye views of colleges and universities that were published as prints around the turn of the 20th century, including Harvard University, Yale University, Cornell University, Hamilton College and Lehigh University.
Condition: Generally very good with the usual overall toning; recently professionally cleaned and deacidified. Some remaining irregular toning from former framing to far outer margin edge.
"Archive Record, Object ID 2013.058.0001." Orange County Regional History Center. http://thehistorycenter.pastperfectonline.com/archive/488A5A97-951D-4BEF-B940-868426932126 (15 February 2016).
"Panama Canal." History.com. http://www.history.com/topics/panama-canal (15 February 2016).