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Ansel Adams, American, (1902–1982)
Grass and Pool, The Sierra Nevada, California, ca. 1935
Photographic materials on paper
10 1/4 x 13 1/2 in. (26.04 x 34.29 cm)

Object Type: Photography
Technique: Photography
Credit Line: Gift of Virginia Adams
Accession Number: 2013.5.5

Ansel Adams is known for his landscapes, but much of his early nature photography eschews landscape altogether, focusing on the abstract. This photograph is indebted to Edward Weston, who shot close-up images of water in order to create murky, abstract, textured images. Still-life was important to early photography, which was confined to the studio where the practice was developed. However, unlike a studio still-life, Adams could not arrange the objects in this shot. He was only able to patiently wait until this precise formation of grass and water presented itself.

David Kuhio Ahia, PO ’18
Getty Multicultural Undergraduate Intern

Although Ansel Adams enjoyed photographing the monumental and permanent, his love of nature also fostered an appreciation for the minute and transient. Grass and Pool is an image of blades of grass resting delicately on the surface of a small pool. However, it is the thin shadows they cast into the bottom of the pool that reveal their fleeting nature. It seems that at any moment the surface could be disturbed, scattering the arrangement permanently.

Laura Woods, SCR ’18


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.

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