Catalog Archive
Auction 182, Lot 379

One of the Great American Pictorial Maps of the Twentieth Century

"The Panama Canal as Seen by Charles H. Owens of the Los Angeles Times Art Staff from a Special Military Airplane",

Subject: Panama Canal

Period: 1925 (dated)


Color: Black & White

41.8 x 26.9 inches
106.2 x 68.3 cm

This exquisitely detailed bird's-eye view was drawn by Charles H. Owens, "the first civilian artist to fly over the Canal Zone." Owens was an artist and cartographer best known for the maps he drew for the Los Angeles Times and his pen-and-ink drawings of the battlefronts during World War II. Here he capture the scope of this incredible achievement of engineering, with great detail of the locks. Numerous insets provide in-depth details of the Gatun Locks, monuments to Balboa and Columbus, and other Canal Zone scenes. Hornsby describes the map as "“A tour de force of invention. Owens’s Panama Canal is one of the great American pictorial maps of the twentieth century." He goes on to describe the map’s production in detail, calling it “one of Owens’s cartographic masterpieces” and that “it marked a major advance in the scale and ambition of bird’s-eye view pictorial mapping." Issued by Lewis Service Inc., a publisher of post cards in Panama City in the early 20th century. We found only one past auction record for this 1925 edition map in the last 30 years.

References: Hornsby (Picturing America) p. 176.

Condition: B+

Issued folding with a few tiny splits at the fold junctions and a short fold separation at top that has been closed on verso with archival tape. Minor foxing.

Estimate: $250 - $325

Sold for: $300

Closed on 4/28/2021