*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

A Unique Offer in Fine Art Photography – Kerik Kouklis

Tom Killion’s High Sierra – The Poetry of Nature

It is a celebrated aspect of art in the National Parks that, when successful, it evokes an emotional response and depicts a consequential interpretation of these majestic spaces. There is a caveat of this art which intends to help us see more literally the form that our parks like Yosemite have taken, while also guiding our imaginations to envision these places at their purest and most elemental structures. And this sentiment is on full display when looking at the Ukiyo-ë style woodblock prints of Tom Killion. Each print is full of life – with playful lines, graphic designs and rich color or tone – but there is also sincerity to it in the way it promotes a nearly unadulterated landscape worthy of our social values and appreciation. Starting August 20th and running through September 30th, The Ansel Adams Gallery will be hosting an exhibition of Mr. Killion’s work, from his newest woodblocks of Yosemite, to some rare and old favorites. We will also be holding an artist’s reception for Tom on Saturday, September 9th from 3-5pm inside the gallery in Yosemite Village where he will be talking about his work and taking questions from attendees. We hope to see you there!

On Exhibit in Yosemite – “William Neill – A Retrospective”

In 1977, William Neill found his own life’s path redirected when he came to photograph Yosemite for the first time. Not long after, he began working at The Ansel Adams Gallery as a staff photographer, teaching visitors all he could about the art form and the place that he loved. While other itinerant interests would take him on journeys far and wide, from the American Southwest to Antartica, he would make Yosemite his permanent home. Forty years later, to commemorate his commitment to photography and great body of work, The Ansel Adams Gallery will be hosting the exhibit “William Neill — A Retrospective” between July 9th to August 19th, 2017

A Unique Offer in Fine Art Photography John Sexton and Anne Larsen – ENDS SUNDAY

Merced River and Forest, Yosemite Valley by John Sexton
©1983 John Sexton. All rights reserved.

The Ansel Adams Gallery is thrilled to offer its collectors, friends and fellow art lovers, a chance to participate in a unique opportunity. From time to time on our website, we love to feature hand-made gelatin silver prints from our family of distinguished Gallery artists at a special price.

Successful fine art photographs are generally those which evoke a reaction based on how they render light. It can be about the subject matter as well, but a lyrical luminosity is a wonderful core of any photograph. Anne Larsen and John Sexton have defined their influential bodies of work by seeking out such instances. Their innate sense of light pushes familiar subjects to become singular and precious as landscapes and still life arrangements always seem to be in a state of tiffany grace.

This month, as part of our Unique Fine Print Offer series, we are excited to feature two photographs, one each from Anne and John, as The Ansel Adams Gallery continues its longest standing relationship with any contemporary photographer. These images, “Bottle No.2, Copenhagen, Denmark” by Ms. Larsen, and “Merced River and Forest, Yosemite Valley” by Mr. Sexton, both represent superb examples of their style, vision and meticulous technique.

While Anne’s original 6×8″ silver prints normally sell for $450, with John’s original 11×14″ silver prints starting at $1,000, you can now add one to your private collection for 25% off the retail price. Each photograph is hand printed in their personal darkroom, signed, as well as mounted, matted and ready for framing. The time to purchase will begin at 9:00 AM Pacific Time on Monday, June 19th and will expire upon the close of business, Sunday, June 26th at 6:00 PM. Once the offer has expired, we anticipate an order fulfillment time of approximately four to five weeks to ensure the quality of each individual order. This printing offer is available for a very limited time, after which, the print will return to full price.

Email our curator, Evan Russel, at evan@anseladams.com if you have any additional questions about the prints or shipping.

Bottle No. 2, Copenhagen, Denmark by Anne Larsen
©1993 Anne Larsen. All rights reserved.

About the Images

Merced River and Forest Yosemite Valley, California 1983 by John Sexton

In the fall of 1983 I was working closely with Eastman Kodak Company in the product development of what would be known a year later as Kodak Elite Fine Art paper. My good friends at Kodak, Bob Shanebrook and Gordon Brown, had flown out to Carmel for a week of darkroom experimentation. Once I learned what they wanted to accomplish in the darkroom I realized, if we worked incredibly long days, we could get through their agenda in a shorter period of time than a week. Then we could all head to Yosemite to make photographs (Bob and Gordon are both passionate photographers). We worked in the darkroom together, running experiments, from early in the morning until the wee hours of the following morning for three days in a row. I remember coming out of the darkroom and finding Gordon asleep on the floor of my studio.

Once we completed our work, we loaded up our gear and headed for Yosemite. I, unfortunately, made one significant error. I brought along my empty film holders, rather than the ones I carefully loaded the day before!!! I was mortified when I realized my error. Fortunately, I became aware of it before we went out photographing and, having access to the Ansel Adams Gallery darkroom, I was able to use my backup film to load my film holders.

On our first evening we headed to one of my favorite locations in Yosemite Valley – Happy Isles. There isn’t a lot of fall color in Yosemite Valley, but this particular tree on the other side of the Merced River had donned its autumn plumage. I used a Wratten #12 deep yellow filter on my 120mm wide-angle lens. I used the back tilt on my 4×5 view camera to exaggerate the scale of the foreground boulders. The image, Merced River and Forest, which was made in the dim but luminous light of dusk, required an exposure of five seconds at f/32. To increase the contrast of the soft illumination in the forest, I selenium intensified just the forest area of the negative. I included this image in my first book “Quiet Light,” and has been reproduced in a number of publications, as well as in advertisements by Eastman Kodak, over the years.

This handmade silver gelatin, selenium toned, print is approximately 10-3/8 x 13″, personally printed by me (as are all my prints), processed to current archival standards, signed, mounted, and over matted to 16×20″ on 100 percent rag museum board.

Bottle No. 2 Copenhagen, Denmark 1993 by Anne Larsen

When I began my career as a photographer I worked for a large, and highly regarded, commercial studio in Copenhagen, Denmark. Their specialty was photographing food and beverages – though they also did other types of commercial work. I loved my job! At times, it was very stressful, but one of the things I enjoyed most about working there was that I often had complete freedom to create my images exactly as I desired.

Over the years the studio had collected items that could be used as props in photographs. These props were nicely organized in a very large room. There were rows and rows of plates piled high – in all colors and shapes – along with, water and wine glasses, bottles, silverware, fabric, as well as interesting objects like weathered wood doors with peeling paint, rusted refrigerator doors, chairs, tables, corrugated metal, picture frames, and much more. You name it – virtually everything was there waiting to be discovered.

As photographers at this studio, this is where we would go to select the plates that would compliment the food we were photographing. We would pick backgrounds, napkins, and whatever else we would need to set up for a particular assignment. Among the many items in the room there was one particular bottle that always fascinated me. It was a dark green triangular shaped bottle that I absolutely fell in love with! The bottle was not perfect – it was slightly crooked and the neck was chipped.

One day, after I had completed all of my assignments, I decided to spend some time with this intriguing bottle. In most cases, as photographers we want everything to be sharp in our photographs – but in this image, Bottle No. 2, I wanted everything to be out of focus – EXCEPT the very tip of the bottle’s neck. I used my 4×5 view camera, and with the help of my tilts and swings, I made sure that everything else was out of focus. The tilts and swings also altered the shape of the bottle and created what I felt was a more painterly interpretation. I actually had to focus above the top of the bottle so that just the very rim of the bottle’s neck was in focus. The photograph was made with the lens absolutely wide open.

One of the things I enjoy most about photography is that we all see things differently. That old green crooked bottle was beautiful to me, and still is today. Sometimes, what appears to be “junk” to one person can become a “treasure” to another. I hope you enjoy this image.

This handmade silver gelatin, selenium toned, print is approximately 6×8″, personally printed by me (as are all my prints), processed to current archival standards, signed, mounted, and overmatted to 14×17″ on 100 percent rag museum board.

About John Sexton

John Sexton was born in 1953, and is known worldwide as a photographer, master print maker, workshop instructor, and lecturer. He is the author of four award-winning books; Quiet Light, Listen to the Trees, Places of Power, and Recollections. Sexton is best known for his luminous hand crafted traditional silver gelatin black and white photographs of the natural environment.

He is director of the John Sexton Photography Workshops, and has conducted hundreds of photography workshops throughout the United States and abroad. Sexton served as Photographic Assistant and Technical Consultant to legendary photographer Ansel Adams from 1979 to 1984. In addition, John has served as a consultant to major photographic manufacturers including Kodak. His finely crafted large format photographs have appeared in numerous
exhibitions and publications, and are included in permanent collections and exhibitions throughout the world.

Sexton has received numerous awards and honors during his forty-year photographic career. In 2005 Sexton was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the North American Nature Photography Association, and in 2014 he received the prestigious International Award from the American Society of Photographers, as well as being a recipient of the inaugural George Eastman Award in Beijing, China.

John still finds magic in exposing and processing film, and making silver gelatin prints, by hand, in his traditional darkroom at his studio in Carmel Valley, California which he shares with his wife Anne Larsen—a talented photographer in her own right.

See more photographs by John Sexton

About Anne Larsen

Anne Larsen worked as a successful photographer for one of the largest commercial studios in Copenhagen, Denmark. In 1994 she moved to the United States to pursue a career in fine-art photography.

Anne’s intimate still life images and delicate photographs of the natural environment, all made with a 4×5″ view camera or medium format camera; share a common luminosity and elegance. Her hand made silver gelatin prints are distinguished by their impeccable execution and tonal subtlety. Anne has assisted and taught on workshops instructed by James Baker, Morley Baer, Ruth Bernhard, Charles Cramer, Philip Hyde, Ray McSavaney, and John Sexton.

Her prints are in numerous private and public collections in North America and Europe. Her images have been included in exhibitions at the Susan Spiritus Gallery and the Alinder Gallery in California. In 2007 she was awarded Third Place Fine Art Still Life in the Pilsner Urquell International Photography Awards.

Legendary photographer Ruth Bernhard said this about Anne Larsen’s photographs: “Anne Larsen has the ability to transform the commonplace into the unforgettable. Her beautiful photographs are made from the heart.”

Anne lives with her husband John Sexton in Carmel Valley, California.

Anne Larsen’s photographs are represented by The Ansel Adams Gallery in Yosemite National Park, California, Sun to Moon Gallery in Dallas, Texas, and Timeless Gallery in Beijing, China.

See more photographs by Anne Larsen

Marie Cosindas – Pioneer in Color Art Photography

Ansel met Marie for the first time in a creative photography workshop in Yosemite in 1961 and always held her in high regard.  I met her in 1963 and have been friends ever since.  She was good friends with Dr. Land, who asked her to make his official portrait (an honor) and Ansel, who recommended her to Dr. Land and invited her to teach at the workshops in Yosemite and stay with them in Carmel.  April 18th I visited her and we went to Fitchburg State College an hour outside Boston, where she gave a very interesting lecture and happily showed slides of her work, replete with anecdotes.

Marie’s early life was in a poor immigrant family with her parents from Greece and living in South Boston in a small apartment.  She was very tidy and organized, sure of herself and had elegant style, some of which might have been inspired by her fashion advertising work at Helene Rubenstein (where she wore designer clothes and was chauffeured around in limousines) and her appreciation of art history and perhaps the graceful draping of marble statues in early Greece.  Her command of color was unsurpassed and she developed her own techniques in the experimental use of Polaroid color, developing it longer which made the color cooler, but she had anticipated that and warmed it with filters.  Light always fascinated her, especially where light was coming from.  She blended tungsten light and ambiant light in her portraits  of people, flowers, vegetables, sculpture, masks — whatever her subject was, after enhancing the stage set with props carefully selected and arranged. Everyone will focus on her photography. So, I am mentioning some of her quiet, sure, command and style personally.  She succeeded as a woman artist in a time it was nearly impossible.

I have also always admired Marie for over-coming obstacles and succeeding so surely.
She was so dyslexic that she read to her siblings by turning the book upside down, so when she looked into a camera’s ground glass, everything for her was right-side-up.  A severe obstacle became an asset.  Her back was severely malformed and she had to undergo many surgeries and rods and replacements and pain, and carried on, walked, got around, worked, and lived independently, was delightful and energetic when we were together in April, even late when I was dropped off at Alison’s home in Cambridge.  She lived fully from 1923 to May 25, 2017, and passed on at the age of 93 (age was never disclosed!).

read more at The New York Times and the Boston Globe.