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Ansel Adams, American, (1902–1982)
Barn, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, 1937
Photographic materials on paper
9 1/2 x 13 1/8 in. (24.13 x 33.34 cm)

Object Type: Photography
Technique: Photography
Credit Line: Gift of Virginia Adams
Accession Number: 2013.5.1

1937 was still the height of the Depression, and Adams’s photograph of an empty barn might be an early attempt at explicitly socially conscious art. The eerie emptiness of a Cape Cod barn could be a comment on economic conditions, or it could be Adams mourning his now seemingly futile career: It comes after Adams’s career low, the disbanding of f/64, the modernist photography group he founded. The clouds overhead are ominous, portentous. Though in the heart of human civilization, it feels more like a wasteland than his photographs of Death Valley.

David Kuhio Ahia, PO ’18
Getty Multicultural Undergraduate Intern

Between 1978 and his death in 1984, Ansel Adams created a special inventory of fine photographic prints of his most important and favorite images. Adams created these prints in order to make his work more available to a wide range of institutions for public display and educational purposes as part of their permanent collections. These prints were sold in sets to individuals, corporations, and institutions suject to the written agreement that each set would not be sold on the open market, bu rather would be donated to institutions for public display and educational purposes. These sets of fine prints became known as the Ansel Adams Museum Sets.

Some of the institutions that have received gifts of Museum Set prints include The National Gallery of Art, the Wilderness Society, the Stanford art Museum, the de Young Museum, the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, Cornell University, and Princeton University.

Scripps College is very pleased to be the recipient of an Ansel Adams Museum Set through the generosity of the Virginia Adams Charitable Trust, created by Adams's wife, Virginia Best Adams. This gift to the Scripps College collection was made directly by the Virginia Adams Charitable Trust.

The copyright to this work and all works in the Ansel Adams Museum Set is held by the Virginia Adams Charitable Trust.

This work bears the signature of the artist in pencil at the lower right, directly beneath the photo.

silver gelatin print

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