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Ansel Adams, American, (1902–1982)
Manley Beacon, Death Valley National Park, California, 1952
Photographic materials on paper
15 1/2 x 19 1/4 in. (39.37 x 48.9 cm)

Object Type: Photography
Technique: Photography
Credit Line: Gift of Virginia Adams
Accession Number: 2013.5.9

Adams photographed “earth gestures,” his term for the awe-inspiring, imperceptibly slow processes that shape the natural world. This idea of an “earth gesture” humanizes the landscape, making it semi-sentient, while also depicting the American landscape as events rather than locales. In his photograph of Manley Beacon, at Zabriskie Point in Death Valley, one can see the individual wrinkles of erosion playing across the rocks. The knoll in the foreground almost looks fleshy. Its soft, undulating texture personifies the landscape as ancient and wise. These massive geologic forms came about through millennia of weathering, with each individual gust that chipped the rock preserved here by Adams.

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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