Southern California Landscape Photographs by Herve Friend, 1891
January 13th through March 11th , 2006
Opening reception: Friday, January 13th, 7-9 pm

Michael Dawson Gallery
535 North Larchmont Boulevard, Los Angeles, California 90004
(323) 469-2186, FAX (323) 469-9553
Web site,

Herve Friend, “Reflections from Nature, Bear Valley Reservoir”.

Michael Dawson Gallery, in association with Paul M. Hertzmann, Inc., is pleased to present the Bear Valley Irrigation Company Album exhibition and catalogue.  These historical photographs, taken in 1891, survey both the Redlands and Moreno Valley landscape. The long growing season of southern California and ideal weather, as well as its picturesque beauty and untapped potential, drew settlers throughout the nineteenth century in search of the American dream. But both the key to that dream and the hurdle to overcome, for any and all communities and individuals, was the accessibility and supply of water.

In 1880 two Easterners, Frank Brown and Edward G. Judson settled in Redlands, went into business together, and found continued success in agriculture. By 1882, the supplies of water for Redlands were exhausted.  A new source would be necessary if the colony was to continue to grow.  Brown was urged by locals to explore Bear Valley as a possible site for a reservoir, and after realizing this potential, the Bear Valley Irrigation Company, was formed in 1883.  Without the water from Bear Valley, none of Redlands’ phenomenal growth would have happened.

Hoping to excite the interest of potential investors and to photograph the brilliant future of his expanding domain, Brown commissioned photographer Herve Friend to document the expansion of the dam and the water delivery system to Moreno and Alessandro and depict Redlands’ success. Friend made at least three trips to Bear Valley throughout August and September of 1891 and created  14 x 17 inch photographs distributed by the Bear Valley Irrigation Company to potential investors across the country and in Europe.  While creating both a documentary survey and a sophisticated marketing tool, Friend also produced a work of fine art.

Nathan Gonzales, describing the work of Herve Friend, says, "In the tradition of American landscape photographers such as Carleton Watkins and Eadeard Muybridge, Friend created a grand vision of the landscape of Bear Valley ... His sweeping vistas of valleys, canyons, towns and fields show a mastery of composition and an understanding of the play of light and shadow ... Friend elevated his work beyond the merely documentary."

In conjunction with this exhibition, a thirty-two page catalogue has been published inclucing fine reproductions of these important historical photographs and an essay by Nathan Gonzales, Associate Archivist with the A.K Smiley Public Library. This volume will be available for sale and distribution at the Michael Dawson Gallery.

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