Feb 15, 2024 - Sale 2659

Sale 2659 - Lot 1

Price Realized: $ 35,000
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 25,000 - $ 35,000
ANSEL ADAMS (1902-1984)
Monolith, the Face of Half Dome, Yosemite National Park. Silver print, the image measuring 19⅜x14⅜ inches (49.2x36.5 cm.), the mount 28x22 inches (71.1x56 cm.), with Adams' signature in pencil on mount recto, and his Carmel stamp (BMFA 11) with the title and negative date in ink on mount verso. 1927; printed 1973-77

Provenance: From the Collection of Dr. James and Debra Pearl

Ansel Adams made this image of the sheer face of Half Dome, one of the most iconic features of the American landscape, and of Yosemite itself, from the "Diving Board," an outcropping more than 3,500 feet above Yosemite Valley. Though rendered with an inky black sky, the face of the mountain is illuminated by the bright midday sun. Adams initially made an exposure using a yellow filter, but then quickly exchanged it for a dark red filter, which darkened the sky and produced the contrast of the deep shadows and bright light. Adams' desire to create an image that both recorded the scene and the powerful experience of standing before the sheer rocky face of Half Dome marked the beginning of his "visualization" method, through which a photographer would control aspects of the image-making, including the exposure of the negative and development process, to achieve an exact outcome. Adams stated, "I began to think about how the print was to appear, and if it would transmit any of the feeling of the monumental shape before me in terms of its expressive-emotional quality. I realized that only a deep red filter would give me anything approaching the effect I felt emotionally." Though Adams was still a young photographer in 1927, and uncertain of his future, the powerful image is astonishing in its mastery of both composition and artistic vision.