The Panama Canal
Owens, Charles Hamilton
Date of Creation:
“Mr Owens was the first civilian artist to fly over the Canal Zone. This bird’s-eye view of the big canal, with its inserted sketches of the locks and interesting Canal Zone scenes, is the result” (legend on the map).
“One of Owen’s most masterful designs… a tour de force of invention, Owen’s Panama Canal is one of the great American pictorial maps of the twentieth century” (Hornsby, plate 97).
Printed as a double-page spread in the Sunday Los Angeles Times and as a separate map, as here. Owen’s was such a consummate artist that he was able to create very accurate sketches while flying over landscapes in fast moving planes. Using this extraordinary skill, he produced three exceptional aerial views of the Colorado River Basin, the Panama Canal (as here) and ‘A Pictorial Map of the Los Angeles Metropolitan District.
“Even before Washington Square Book Shop and Houghton Mifflin published their maps, Charles H. Owens in Los Angeles was designing some of the most original pictorial maps ever created. Although he never produced full-color pictorial maps equivalent to those by Olsen and Clark or many others, Owens did perfect the bird’s-eye view for newspapers. In the process, he created many individual black-and-white and color aerial perspective maps that easily stand comparison with full-color pictorial maps” (Hornsby, page 23).