A GOOD TIME WAS HAD BY ALL!
The Ansel Adams Gallery’s Inaugural Exhibition at AIPAD

The Ansel Adams Gallery proudly featured some of its finest examples of original, vintage, and mural-sized photographs by Ansel Adams at The Photography Show. The response was overwhelmingly positive from collectors, museum curators, art advisors, photographers and photo-enthusiasts.

For those of you who weren’t able to attend this year, we are pleased to offer a select number of these superb images for sale, including the ones featured below (all of which are framed to museum standards). The entire selection of our gallery’s available photographs can be viewed on our website under Original Photographs.

To take advantage of this exciting opportunity, please contact Brittany Moorefield, the Director of Photography Sales, by email at brittany@anseladams.com or by phone at (857) 523-8100. Read more about our experience at AIPAD this year!

El Capitan, Sunrise – $16,500 (framed)

Oak Tree, Sunset City – $12,900 (framed)

 

Ansel Adams Gallery Staff

The proud staff of The Ansel Adams Gallery: Stacey Bellis (Marketing Director), Matthew Adams (President), Brittany Moorefield (Director of Sales) and Evan Russel (Curator)

 

Vernal Fall – $10,900 (framed)

 

Merced River, Cliffs, Autumn – $9,900 (framed)

 

An inside view of Booth 707 – featuring Ansel Adams vintage photographs

 

Clearing Winter Storm – $22,500 (framed)

 

Oak Tree, Snow Storm – $25,500 (framed)

 

The front of the gallery’s booth, with the mural-size print of Winter Sunrise, Sierra Nevada from Lone Pine in the center

 

Forest Floor – $16,500 (framed)

 

Mannequins, Columbia Movie Lot – $18,500 (framed)

 

Matthew Adams (President) and Evan Russel (Curator) hung 36 photographs with care.

 

Monolith, The Face of Half Dome – $20,500 (framed)

 

A Grove of Tamarack Pine – $19,500 (framed)

 

The staff thoroughly enjoyed participating in the gallery’s first art fair!

About Our Experience at AIPAD 2018

Every year in April, photography dealers from around the world descend on New York for one of the world’s most prestigious annual photography events; this year was an exceptional gathering. The Photography Show, hosted by the Association of International Photography Art Dealers (AIPAD) is the longest-running and foremost exhibition dedicated to the photographic medium, offering a wide range of museum-quality work, including contemporary, modern, and 19th-century photographs. More than 100 of the leading fine art photography galleries from around the world, including the U.S., Europe, Asia, Canada, Mexico, the Middle East, and South America were represented in this 38th edition of the fair. The Ansel Adams Gallery was honored to be invited to this exciting and distinguished artistic venue.  

During the five day event, there were numerous talks by collectors, curators, critics and other influential members of the photography world. Thousands of people visited the exhibition and The Ansel Adams’ booth garnered quite a bit of attention from dealers and industry insiders who were amazed at our outstanding collection of works by Ansel Adams, particularly the five mural-sized photographs. Most fair-goers had never had the opportunity to view one mural, much less five! We believe that the Winter Sunrise mural, which was hung prominently in the center of our booth, was photographed more than any other work in the entire fair! One young boy walked by with his family and exclaimed, “Mommy, I know that picture, I saw it in a book, it’s Winter Sunrise!” Which shows, it is never too young to start art education! We also had several groups from local universities and photography clubs come by to discuss and admire up-close our iconic prints.

Matthew Adams, the grandson of Ansel Adams and current president of The Ansel Adams Gallery, was in attendance at our gallery’s booth throughout the fair. Many of the fairgoers were delighted to meet him in person, and in many cases, shared their personal stories of how Ansel Adams had touched their lives in a variety of different ways. We are grateful to our many collectors and fans that came to see us at AIPAD from as far away as San Diego, Chicago, Delaware and Philadelphia; we don’t always get to meet our clients in person, so it was a pleasure for us to get to know them and have the opportunity to discuss their interest in photography.  

Mural-Size Photograph of “Winter Sunrise, from Lone Pine”

Winter Sunrise, from Lone Pine, 1944 – Mural

The Ansel Adams Gallery is thrilled to offer an original mural that is extraordinarily rare, and perhaps a once in a lifetime opportunity. We have acquired a spectacular, extremely large mural photograph of Winter Sunrise, from Lone Pine, printed by Ansel Adams in the early 1960s. This print was a gift from the artist to the contractor, George Whitcomb, who built the Adams’ house and darkroom in Carmel. Through this process, Whitcomb became a very good friend to Ansel and Virginia, working closely with them and architect Aldridge Spencer to build a unique home overlooking the California coast and Pacific Ocean.

Prisoners read newspapers at the Manzanar Relocation Center, a Japanese American internment camp during World War II.

While most of Adams’ photographs are immediately recognizable, there are a handful of iconic images that epitomize both the grand Western landscape that Ansel loved so dearly and the body of work which made him the most well-known and respected photographer of the 20th century. Winter Sunrise, from Lone Pine is one of those few images. Created in 1944 while Ansel was working on his Born Free and Equal  project, a documentary book and exhibit of the Japanese-Americans interred at Manzanar War Relocation Center, this image is a powerful masterpiece that resonates deep within our primordial souls. This universal resonance makes it one of his most beloved and sought after images.

Ansel’s darkroom in his San Francisco home, where he worked until 1962, was small, cramped, and squeezed into all the available space in the basement. When Ansel planned his move and designed his home in Carmel, the darkroom was purpose built, able to accommodate multiple large trays, several people, and several enlargers (including one that ran on a narrow gauge railroad and exposed the negative horizontally against a wall that could hold rolls of photographic paper). This darkroom made a nearly impossible task of printing murals significantly easier.

Printing large format photographs was not a simple task. Anything larger than 20×24 required two people to process, rolling the paper through the trays of chemicals carefully and constantly to get an even development, taking care not to crimp or bend the fragile medium. In the San Francisco studio, two people could barely fit into the darkroom, let alone handle large pieces of paper and move them from tray to tray. The darkroom in Carmel provided the necessary space and equipment to process and maneuver substantially larger photographs.

While all large format photographs (larger than 16×20) are uncommon, the overwhelming majority of that subset are 30”x40” or smaller. This photograph is 40”x 60”, more than double the size of the typical mural. With the exception of multi-panel or multi-strip pieces, this is the largest size photograph that Ansel could produce.

Ansel and Virginia Adams in their home in the Carmel Highlands, 1983

It is not surprising, then, that Ansel gave the contractor who built his home in Carmel one of the largest photographs he could produce, we presume shortly after Ansel moved in, as a means of appreciation. What makes this print particularly special is the combination of provenance, size, image sharpness, luminance and tonal values within the print, and condition of the print surface. Some of the murals we see are impressive for their sheer size, but don’t hold the image well, breaking up or losing the sharpness that was a hallmark of Adams’ work. The clarity, luminance, and tonal range of this print gives up nothing for its size, making it a truly remarkable photograph from the day Ansel made it.

George Whitcomb and Ansel Adams in Carmel

The intervening 50+ years have been surprisingly kind to this sensational masterpiece. Protected with an initial coat of varnish (typical for Ansel’s murals), the print has recently received an extensive cleaning and retouching. The few minimal blemishes that remain would be invisible on a standard 16×20 print, and are visible now only under close inspection with magnification and bright specular light. We rate the condition “Excellent” – defined as “Only minor flaws or damage, visible under close inspection (less than 10 inch viewing distance) in specular or raking light.” Considering everything, the image, tonality and luminance, size, condition, provenance, and the scarcity of all these factors in a single photograph, this mural of Winter Sunrise, from Lone Pine is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

George Whitcomb during the construction of Ansel and Virginia Adams’ home in the Carmel Highlands, 1962.

There have been two recorded sales at auction of this image at or near this size. In 2010 a photograph the same size sold for $482,500, four years later a print slightly smaller sold for $545,000. We believe this print is easily comparable to these auction records, and is priced accordingly. The photograph is archivally overmatted and framed to 57”x 77” using museum quality Plexiglass and a welded metal frame reminiscent of the type Ansel preferred. It will be accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity from The Ansel Adams Gallery, signed by the Gallery’s President, Matthew Adams.

We invite you to consider this extraordinary opportunity to acquire a remarkable work of art that is historically significant, and representative of Adams’ legacy as a renown photographer and master printer.

For more information or to discuss this acquisition, please email originals@anseladams.com or call 888-238-9244.

Language of Light – An Exhibit by Alan Ross

Yosemite and Alan Ross have a storied history. Mr. Ross has been photographing this hallowed valley since he first came to work for Ansel Adams in 1974. Many adventures followed — the camera in tow as he developed his language of light.

“Light and Land” An Exhibit by Michael Frye

Photographer Michael Frye has been working in and around Yosemite National Park for three decades. During that time he has thoroughly explored this vast, beautiful, and diverse region

On Exhibit in Yosemite – Looking West: Photographs by Ansel Adams

Ansel Adams is a distinct paradigm of the American West from his wild adventures to his modern methods and embrace of technology, along with his romanticizing of the open spaces and their vernacular — and all the way down to his bolo and white stetson.

*New Acquisition* Original Photograph of Aspens, Northern New Mexico

Aspens, Northern New Mexico 1958 An Original Ansel Adams gelatin silver photograph

Original gelatin silver print of “Aspens, Northern New Mexico” available in a 16 x 20 inch format, signed in pencil, printed in the mid-1970s and in “Excellent” condition. Email fineprints@anseladams.com or call (888) 238-9244 for more details and pricing.

It may come as a surprise for some to learn that at one point in Ansel Adams’ life, he contemplated and was fraught with the decision whether to become a classical pianist or a photographer.

From a very early age, Ansel taught himself to play the piano and read music. He began taking formal lessons when he was twelve, and practicing the piano became an integral aspect to his home schooling. Two years later, he would visit Yosemite National Park for the first time with his family, and become utterly enthralled by its majestic beauty. By age eighteen, he had decided upon a career as a concert pianist, all the meanwhile having taken up photography as a burgeoning passion. The decision as to whether or not to pursue classical piano or fine art photography was quite difficult for him, something that he discusses in his autobiography. One could argue that the dedicated training and discipline required to play the piano during some of the most formative years of his childhood laid the foundational framework for his unwavering work ethic and dedication to photography.

In many ways, there is a musical and poetic element to Ansel’s photography. His ability to capture not only a “picture” but an “expression” of his own experiences is utterly magical. When he exposed the horizontal and vertical negatives of “Aspens, Northern New Mexico” he recalled the details of his experience: “I immediately knew there were wonderful images to be made in the area… We were in the shadow of the mountains, the light was cool and quiet and no wind was stirring. The aspen trunks were slightly greenish and the leaves were a vibrant yellow. The forest floor was covered with a tangle of russet shrubs. It was very quiet and visually soft, and would have been ideal for a color photograph…” Yet what Ansel envisioned in black-and-white was “a considerable departure from reality”. This underscores the significance of his ability to first visualize an image, and then through his technical mastery, record his own experience. Ansel Adams’ original photograph of “Aspens, Northern New Mexico” is a symphony of tonal values.

When you compare prints of “Aspens, Northern New Mexico” there can be quite a difference between one print to another. Some of the earlier prints that he made are lighter, whereas, some of the later prints are significantly darker. Much of the image itself is black; yet it is that brilliant glistening aspen tree in the center that stands out as a result of the high contrast that many associate with Ansel’s photography. He is often quoted for saying, “The negative is comparable to the composer’s score and the print to its performance. Each performance differs in subtle ways.” Many of these subtle details and delicate nuances distinguish one print’s “interpretation” from another. His formulation of the Zone System, along with highly disciplined and refined darkroom skills, informed his printmaking and resulted in beautiful individually hand-printed photographs, such as this example of “Aspens, Northern New Mexico”. Its richly detailed, pin-sharp clarity and overall balance in tonal variation distinguishes it as a superb example of fine art photography. Its classical overtones are indicative of his printing style during the mid-1970s, and its condition is excellent.

Ansel Adams was at times quiet, but incredibly expressive throughout his career: first as an aspiring concert pianist, then as a world renown photographer. In many ways he changed the course of history, not only through his printed photographs, but in a myriad of other ways – as an ardent environmentalist, founder of Group f/64, pioneer of the Zone System, and key player in establishing the photography department at the Museum of Modern Art. With his hands he created extraordinary photographs. With his words he inspired others through his poetic commentary, persuasive language and informative writings. In doing so, he brought photography into the same realm of painting, music and other fine art forms, similarly capable of expressing and evoking the human emotion and our response to the beauty in nature.

Virtually everyone with whom he encountered has a memorable and favorable story about Ansel Adams. Music would continue to inform his work, and color his livelihood with a piano stationed in his living room, amidst photographic prints, murals, and other artifacts that the Adams collected over the years. If you could go back in time and mingle at one of the Adams’ cocktail parties or social gatherings, you might have heard the lively touch of his fingertips at the piano.

The Ansel Adams Gallery will be introducing a sensational mural of “Aspens, Northern New Mexico” in a large horizontal 32×40 inch format. Recently at Christie’s 2017 spring auction, a mural of the same image, with similar but slightly smaller dimensions, sold for $440,000. To learn more about our gallery’s selection of murals, please contact the Director of Photography Sales, Brittany Moorefield, by email at brittany@anseladams.com or by phone at (888) 238-9244.

The Ansel Adams Museum Set Photographs

************************** For Immediate Release **************************

In the late 1970s, as the prices for Ansel Adams’ original photographs exploded in value, Ansel and his advisors developed a plan to be able to have his work more easily exhibited and seen by future generations. He created the Museum Set edition, sets of prints of his photographs, mostly the classic, iconic images that people have come to know and love, but also works that, while not as popular, he felt were important to his legacy. These sets would be sold, at a significant discount to then current prices, to carefully selected individuals with a history of making donations to art and educational institutions, under the agreement between Ansel and the purchaser that the set would be donated, in its entirety, to an art or educational institution.

The original agreements always named the originally intended designee, and allowed for Ansel to unilaterally cancel the contract if he felt that the purchaser was not going to follow through with the agreement.

The standard form of the agreements was later (posthumously) amended to reflect that the sets were to always remain intact, and if the purchaser were to sell or deaccession them, they had to go to a public or nonprofit art or education institution. The same stipulation was required of any successor owner, that they remain intact and sold or transferred to a public or nonprofit art or education institution, with the same ongoing stipulation. Prints purchased under those later contracts, therefore, by legal agreement, did not, do not, and will not have an unrestricted title that can easily be transferred. The Museum Sets and individual prints from Museum Sets have irregularly come to the market, almost always from the original purchaser or their descendants. As this is contrary to the written agreement between Ansel and the purchaser, we (Ansel’s family and estate) have consistently and successfully fought to enforce the agreement that they be donated to an institution. We have been assisted by many other people and institutions – dealers and auction houses throughout the United States – who recognize that the agreements with Ansel are legally binding and as such have refused to offer them for sale as contrary to law, precedent, and Ansel’s intent. We appreciate those efforts and everyone’s continued vigilance.

On December 14, 2017, a Museum Set will be available through Doyle Auctions in New York City. This set was initially acquired in 1981 from Ansel under the original standard agreement. It was donated by the family of the original purchaser to the College of New Rochelle, where it has been exhibited for students, faculty, and the neighboring public. While we would of course prefer that it stay intact and on public display, the terms of the agreement with Ansel have been met and it is for the College of New Rochelle to determine its disposition.

We have worked with the College to clearly identify the provenance of these prints. Each print is marked on the reverse with a unique number from Ansel’s studio and the “Museum Set” wet stamp.
Also on each print in this set are two wet stamps:

Collection of
The College of New Rochelle
Gift of Caryl Horwitz

and

Deaccessioned 2017
by the Board of Trustees of
The College of New Rochelle

It is clear that the prints in this specific set are no longer subject to the legal restrictions that Ansel made. We believe this is an exception, and that, by contract, other Museum Sets must remain intact and intended for public display. We will continue to enforce Ansel’s agreements to the fullest extent possible, and ask the broader art photography market to do the same. In general, Museum Set prints that are not clearly marked and identifiable as having been deaccessioned from a public or nonprofit institution are on the market contrary to Ansel’s agreements, have restricted title. We hope that the market will continue to shun these transactions and value them commensurately with any restricted sale item.

Respectfully,

Matthew Adams
President, The Ansel Adams Gallery
Grandson, Ansel Adams

Interpreting Yosemite through the Seasons – Oil Painting by James McGrew

It is sometimes easy to forget that The Ansel Adams Gallery began as a painting studio operated by Ansel’s father-in-law Harry Best from 1902 until 1936. Mr. Best’s style of painting grew out of the Hudson River School variety as he ventured into both studio and plain air sessions. Today the Gallery continues this tradition by featuring the work of James McGrew in a new solo exhibit: Interpreting Yosemite through the Seasons, New Original Oil Paintings.

From iconic grand views to remote and intimate perspectives, James McGrew’s most recent original oil paintings convey the diverse moods and experiences of Yosemite through the changing seasons. This exhibit will open on October 1st and run through November 11th, 2017 and will feature both plein air and studio paintings showcasing a range from clearing moonlit snow storms to high water of spring in 2017 to the calm of late summer and Autumn color. The Ansel Adams Gallery will be hosting a public artist’s reception on Wednesday, October 4th form 3-5pm.

See James McGrew’s paintings

Ansel Adams Portfolio Three