Isaac W. Baker, Untitled (Portrait of a Chinese Man), c.1851, Sixth plate daguerreotype, H: 3.75 in, W: 3.25 in. Gift of an Anonymous Donor.

Gold Rush Era Works

During the California Gold Rush artists and photographers joined the untold thousands of gold seekers who migrated to California, creating a vivid record of one of the 19th century’s most important global events. Many of the most familiar and iconic images of the Gold Rush may be found in the collections of the Oakland Museum of California. Highlights include San Francisco in July, 1849, by George Henry Burgess, E. Hall Martin’s Mountain Jack and a Wandering Miner, and portraits of California pioneers by William Smith Jewett and Charles Christian Nahl.

Photography arrived along with the forty-niners, and OMCA holds one of the finest collections of California daguerreotypes anywhere. Pre-dating the Civil War by twenty years, these jewel-like photographs in brass and leather cases constitute the world’s first photographic record of a major historical event, and are the cornerstone of the Museum’s photography collection.

More at OMCA Collections Online