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George Masa (Primary)

untitled [Chimney Top at Sunset, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park]

circa 1920
20th century
Medium & Support
Gelatin silver print on paper
Sheet: 8 x 10 1/8 in. , Image: 7 3/8 x 9 3/8 in. , Window: 6 7/8 x 9 1/8 in.
Art Photography
Object Type
Credit Line
Museum purchase with funds provided by the Nat C. Myers Photography Fund
Accession Number
No Known Copyright

Sepia-toned mountain landscape, a single peak in center of image, tall trees lower left and other mountains in background. A copy of this photograph was used by Douglas Ellington to propose a "'castle' for Chimney Rock Park.

Label History

Masa began his life in Asheville, NC, in 1915 as an employee of The Grove Park Inn. He is best known for the photographic works he made to advocate for the preservation of the Great Smoky Mountains. His work, such as this photograph of Chimney Tops at sunset, was essential to the transformation of parts of the region into federally protected national parks. The proliferation of his photographs, a result of his laborious tracking of the Western North Carolina terrain and beyond, also brought national and international attention to Western North Carolina as a site for adventure-seekers. Masa died impoverished from tuberculosis, receiving greatest recognition for his photography and contributions to the National Park Service after his death. In 1961 the US Geodetic Survey designated an unnamed peak in the Smokies as Masa Knob.

Exhibition Title: Asheville Art Museum: An Introduction to the Collection
Label Date:
Type: Object entry
Written by: Michelle Lee

George Masa came to Asheville, NC, in 1915 shortly after immigrating to America. He was passionate about the Smoky Mountains and the preservation of their natural beauty. His untiring work documenting the mountains helped to draw international attention to conservation efforts and to opportunities for tourists in Western North Carolina. In 1961, the U.S. Geodetic Survey designated an unnamed peak in the Smokies as Masa Knob.

Exhibition Title: Intersections in American Art
Label Date: November 2019 - June 2020
Type: Extended label


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