Michael Dawson Gallery Presents
The "Bear Valley Irrigation Company Album"
Southern California Landscape Photographs
From 1891 by Herve Friend
Opening Reception Friday, January 13, 2006

Los Angeles, CA - Michael Dawson Gallery, in association with Paul M. Hertzmann, Inc., is pleased to present the Bear Valley Irrigation Company Album exhibition and catalogue. This exhibit will mark the first time that these historical photographs, taken by Herve Friend in 1891, will be displayed and offered for sale. The exhibit will run from January 13 – March 11, 2006. An opening night reception will take place on Friday, January 13th from 7:00pm – 9:00pm. The Bear Valley photographs 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. The exhibit will also include some recent photographs commissioned to run along side the historical photographs as a kind of "before-and-after" comparison. Michael Dawson Gallery is located at 535 N. Larchmont Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90004. Please call 323-469-2186 or visit www.dawsonbooks.com for more information.

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, Associate Archivist with the A.K. Smiley Public Library in Redlands (founded in 1894) 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 including fine reproductions of these important historical photographs and an essay by Nathan Gonzales. This volume will be available for sale and distribution at the Michael Dawson Gallery.

The Michael Dawson Gallery is situated inside Dawson's Book Shop, the oldest continuously operating bookstore in the city of Los Angeles. Since 1905, Dawson's Book Shop has been the leading source in Southern California for rare and out of print books, as well as new editions, focused primarily on the fields of Western Americana history, California and photography. Regular hours at the gallery are Wednesday – Saturday from 10:00am – 5:00pm, and Monday and Tuesday by appointment.

For more information or to interview Michael Dawson please contact Lynn Hasty at Green Galactic at 323-466-5141 or lynn@greengalactic.com.