William CliftLandscape, New Mexico, from the portfolio New Mexico
gelatin silver print
9 x 12 3/4 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Transfer from the National Endowment for the Arts, © 1973, William Clift
Signs of human alteration of the land appear in the center of William Clift’s endless vista. Yet there are no figures as there would have been in a nineteenth-century landscape. The artist purposely excludes people from this work, allowing us to focus on the natural world and the formal attributes of his pictures.