The Getty issued a press release today covering the gift of a Ansel Adams’s 25 photograph Museum Set by Carol Vernon and her husband Robert Turbin in memory of Marjorie and Leonard Vernon.
In 1979, near the end of his seven decade career, Adams began to produce what he called “The Museum Set,” a project initiated with the help of Maggi Weston of Weston Gallery in Carmel, California. From over 2,500 of his negatives, Adams selected 75 images, which included photographs from as early as 1923 to as late as 1968. Collectors could purchase a “complete” set of 75 prints, or they could select their own set of 25 that Adams himself would print for purchase.
“The Museum Set” was purchased from Adams by Vernon’s parents, with the understanding that they would one day be donated to a museum. Having been in the same hands since their initial purchase, the photographs are in pristine condition, and greatly enhance the Getty’s existing collection of 40 photographs by Adams.
A large number of the prints feature two locations—Yosemite (nine prints) and the Sierra Nevadas (three prints). The collection also contains two prints from Alaska, three from Northern California, including an image of the “Golden Gate” in San Francisco Bay taken in 1932 before the bridge was constructed, and three from the Southwest, including Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico (1941), which once held the record for the highest price ever paid for a photograph at auction. Although the majority of the prints are landscapes, the set does include two portraits—Georgia O’Keeffe and Orville Cox at the Canyon de Chelly National Monument (1937), and a close up of the face of Jose Clemente Orozco, taken in New York City in 1933.