The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Friday, April 20, 2018

Iconic Ansel Adams Print Going Up for Auction at Swann Auction Galleries
Ansel Adams, "Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico". Silver print, 13 x 17 6/16 inches (34.2 x 44.2 cm), mounted to period Strathmore Illustration Board measuring 20 x 24 inches (50.8 x 60.9 cm), with Adams's signature, in pencil, on mount recto and his signature, "Yosemite National Park California" hand stamp, title and inscription "For Val Sarra! 1948--at last!!!!," in ink, on mount verso, 1941. Printed 1948. Estimate $350,000-450,000. Photo: Swann Auction Galleries.

NEW YORK, NY (AP).- An early print of an iconic Ansel Adams photograph is going up for auction in New York City for an estimated $350,000 to $450,000. The Dec. 8 sale of 1948's "Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico" is at Swann Auction Galleries. The print is signed and inscribed to Valentino Sarra, a friend of Adams' and a poster designer for the old Works Progress Administration. It shows a nighttime moon over a cloud-fringed mountain range with a graveyard in the foreground. It was made in a range of subtle grays, and the auction house says it's one of only 10 believed to carry such a delicate tonal quality. Three are in museum collections. Adams experimented with printing, often producing the same image in lighter and darker tones.

Ansel Adams's position in the pantheon of master photographers is assured by his magisterial studies of the American landscape. "Moonrise over Hernandez" is his most famous and revered photograph. The beautiful print offered in this lot, in which Adams rendered the clouds and sky subtly, in a range of gray tones, was created in 1948. It is believed that fewer than 10 photographs with this delicate tonal quality were produced and three are now in collections of The Getty Museum, The Museum of Modern Art, NY and Princeton University Art Museum. The photograph is mounted, signed and inscribed to Valentino Sarra, a photographer and W.P.A. poster designer, who was a friend of Adams. Sarra apparently ordered the picture after seeing it in Camera Annual.

The subject matter of the picture, a cemetery whose white crosses seem to be lit from within, is richly symbolic. A serene and waxing moon, the presumed source of the glowing light, appears in the background. It has been said that the scene "punctuate the meeting of heaven and earth."

The picture was actually shot on October 31, 1941, Halloween day, at 4:05 PM, the late afternoon. Interestingly, Adams could not recall when he actually made the photograph, claiming it was sometime between 1941-44. A scientist at the High Altitude Observatory, Boulder, Colorado, determined the date and time based on the moon's position in the sky.

The story associated with the picture is the stuff of legend. After a discouraging day in the field with his son and an assistant, Adams was driving home, when he "saw an extraordinary situation--an inevitable photograph! I almost ditched the car and rushed to set up my 8 x 10 inch view camera . . . but I could not find my exposure meter! The situation was desperate: the low sun was trailing the edge of clouds in the west, and shadow would seem to dim the white crosses." Adams had pre-visualized the image, managing to capture the picture before the sun set and light irrevocably shifted.

Although much has been written about this iconic picture, little has been said about the process by which he made the photographic print. In addition to the soft tonal range, each version of Adams's earliest photographs is cropped uniquely. The inventor of the Zone System, a photographic technique used to determine the widest range of print tonality Adams, a consummate technician, was in the best position to manifest the relationship between how the photographic subject is visualized and its final form as a photographic print.

Adams remarked that it was difficult to craft photographs from the original negative, which is why prints from this period are uncommon. In December 1948 he reprocessed the negative, increasing the density in the foreground. Later prints, from the 1960s-1970s, depict a scene with greater contrast, in which the sky appears dramatically darker.

The photograph was gifted to a New York Collector in the late 1960s.

Copyright 2009: The Associated Press.

Swann Auction Galleries | Ansel Adams | Valentino Sarra |

Today's News

November 29, 2009

Kunsthalle Dusseldorf Eats the Universe with Exhibition of Art Made with and Involving Food

One of the Greatest of All Illuminated Manuscripts to be Exhibited at the Morgan

Museum Rethinks its Collection and Presents the Museum of the 21st-Century

Major Picasso Exhibition Featuring Unique Paintings at Heather James Fine Art

Iconic Ansel Adams Print Going Up for Auction at Swann Auction Galleries

Canadian Photographer Edward Burtynsky Presents "Oil" at Huis Marseille

Ei Arakawa Invites Artists for Exhibition at Kunsthalle Zurich

Bonhams New York Presents First Coins and Banknotes Sale

Michael Lee-Chin Crystal Cited as Architectural Marvel

Catch Only West Coast Presentation of Luc Tuymans at SFMOMA

Dual Exhibitions by Acclaimed Polish Artists to Open at Modern Art Oxford

Koudelka's Legendary Photographs of the Prague Invasion to be Shown in Miami

Raffles College of Design Fashion Grads Compete for Akira Internship

Hannah Maybank Opens Third Solo Exhibition at Gimpel Fils

London-Based Pakistani Artist Brings Unique Artworks to Dubai

December UBS 12 x 12 at Chicago's MCA Presents Carrie Schneider

Yuriko Lochan Creates a New "Self" Portrait in Her Solo Exhibition at Alliance Francaise

Kessling Vs. Kessling 2009 at the Modern Artists Gallery

Exhibition at Cantor Arts Center will Celebrates Donors' Vision and Generosity

Chichen Itza Gets Greener

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- John Surtees' one-owner 1957 BMW 507 to be offered for the first time at Bonhams Festival of Speed sale

2.- Antiques looted in Libya by IS sold in Spain, two experts arrested

3.- The world's oldest bridge to be preserved by the British Museum's Iraq Scheme

4.- Exquisite jewels dazzle in historic Cartier exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia

5.- Now showing in US cinemas: "Hitler VS Picasso and The Others" directed by Claudio Poli

6.- New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art returns stolen idols to Nepal

7.- Glasgow starts a year of celebration as Charles Rennie Mackintosh exhibition opens

8.- Very rare Qing Dynasty bowl sells for $30.4 million

9.- Gardner Museum publishes "Stolen" book about 13 works in 1990 theft

10.- Royal Ontario Museum announces appointment of Curator, Islamic Art & Culture

Related Stories

Copy of Annie Leibovitz's 'John and Yoko' Up for Auction

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful