Ansel Adams - Photographs New York Tuesday, October 2, 2012 | Phillips

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  • Literature

    Little, Brown and Company, Ansel Adams: Classic Images, pls. 1-2
    Szarkowski, The Portfolios of Ansel Adams, Portfolio 3, pls. 1 and 6
    Szarkowski, Ansel Adams at 100, fig. 10 and pl. 112
    The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Ansel Adams: The Early Years, pls. 2 and 6

  • Catalogue Essay

    The year 1916 marked a turning point in the life of fourteen-year old Ansel Adams, who, for the fi­rst time, visited Yosemite National Park—an experience that embedded a lasting impression that would come to shape his career. Of that experience Adams later wrote: “the splendor of Yosemite burst upon us and it was glorious... One wonder after another descended upon us... There was light everywhere... A new era began for me.” It was then that the young Adams was gifted a Kodak Brownie box camera and began photographing the great outdoors. Three years later, enamored by the region, Adams joine dSierra Club, a hub for like-minded nature enthusiasts who dedicated their time and efforts to preserving natural wonders. The following year Adams was appointed caretaker of the Sierra club visitor center, a position he would hold through 1924.

    Equipped with a Korona view camera and an ever-sharpening eye, Adams tirelessly explored the region throughout the 1920s, producing some of his most iconic images, including Monolith,the Face of Half Domeand El Capitan, both of which are included in the current lot. So successful were Adams’s images that in 1927, at age 25, Parmelian Prints of the High Sierras, a portfolio of eighteen images, was published in an edition of 150. The term for the medium, “parmelian”, was a marketing device on behalf of Adams and his main patron, the philanthropist Albert Bender, as a way of distinguishing the set as works of ­fine art. The portfolio was an enormous success, of which Adams stated “My photographs have now reached a stage when they are worthy of the world’s critical examination.” While Adams’s passion for the region and the medium continued to evolve over the next decades,Parmelian Prints of the High Sierrasmarks the launching point in one of the most successful careers in the history of photography.

    Of the proposed edition of 150, it is believed that approximately 100 copies were printed.

    Titles include:Sierra Junipers; The Abode of Snow; Monolith, the Face of Half Dome; From Glacier Point; On the Heights; A Grove of Tamarack Pine; Mount Galen Clark; Mount Clarence King; Roaring River Falls; Marion Lake; El Capitan; Banner Peak - Thousand Island Lake; Mount Brewer; Kearsarge Pinnacles; The Sentinel; East Vidette; Cloud and Mountain

    Lots 101 through 135 feature Property of a Chicago Collector. Offering a wide historical range from the classic to the contemporary, these 35 lots touch upon defining moments across 100 years of photography, including some of the most revered names in the field, from Eugène Atget to Vik Muniz. Other photographers in the selection whose indelible contributions to the field continue to resonate include André Kertész, Lewis Hine, Maurice Tabard, Louis Faurer and Dorothea Lange, thereby also demonstrating the geographic breadth of the collection. Additionally, with a particular emphasis on the era between the wars, this selection also reflects the incredible diversity in genres—from landscapes to street photography and appropriation—within the field of photographs. Collectively, the works pay homage to the medium while also hinting at the many exciting, endless permutations laying ahead.



Parmelian Prints of the High Sierras

San Francisco: Grabhorn Press, 1927. Eighteen gelatin silver prints.
Each 6 x 8 in (15.2 x 20.3 cm) or the reverse.
Six signed in pencil in the margin; all with printed title in the margin. Each print enclosed in a paper sleeve with printed title. Colophon. Title page. Enclosed in the original folding portfolio case. One from an edition of 150.

$40,000 - 60,000 

Sold for $50,000

Contact Specialist
Vanessa Kramer Hallett
Worldwide Head of Photographs
+ 1 212 940 1245


2 October 2012
New York