• Photographs auction at Christies

    Sale 2304


    15 April 2010, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 409

    ANSEL ADAMS (1902-1984)

    Lunar study from a Lick Observatory negative, 1955

    Price Realised  


    ANSEL ADAMS (1902-1984)
    Lunar study from a Lick Observatory negative, 1955
    gelatin silver print, possibly unique printing by Adams
    accompanied by a typed letter on Adams' headed paper, signed in ink and dated 'September 3, 1955'; and a Western Union Telegram, stamped '1955 Sept 23 AM 7 13'
    22½ x 36¼in. (37.5 x 92.5cm.) (2)

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    'Red is the color of many apples and some faces, including mine. I have been east for nearly 6 weeks; on return I came down with a bought [sic] of inside flu. I then had to come to Yosemite for ten days. I shall return to S.F. about the 12th of this month.
    I can thoroughly understand your state of mind about this print project. Whatever you think about me is justified. The facts are that I have a backlog of print orders which are in the same condition as yours - not done.
    You see, I do not operate a 'business'. I have 'spells' of darkroom work - with long intervals in between when I am in the field, writing etc.
    I am really terribly sorry about the delay. Naturally I will take 101 of the blame; please tell your friends YOU tried and I evaded! But seriously, I plan to enter the darkroom on my return to SF and will do these prints for you as a prime priority. That is - if you still entertain any faith! I think the prints will be effective, as the negative is especially fine.' (letter from Ansel Adams to Mr. David Barcroft, dated September 3, 1955)

    James Alinder (Alinder Gallery) in consultation with Don Olson (Texas State University) and Roger Sinnott (Sky and Telescope), determined that the print is from a Lick Observatory negative, printed by Adams in 1955 for David Barcroft, an active member of the Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers, who held their meeting that year at Yosemite. According to Olson, Roger Sinnott also unearthed a note in the June 1955 issue of Sky and Telescope (p. 335), stating that an award was going to be made to Walter H. Haas, director of A.L.P.O., on August 19th at a convention of the Western Amateur Astronomers to be held at Camp Curry, Yosemite National Park. Given Adams' embarrassment and comment in his letter about letting down Barcroft's 'friends', it is possible that these lunar prints were to be presented during the event, although this gift is unspecified in the article.


    From the artist;
    by bequest to the present owner

    Saleroom Notice

    Please note that the study is from a Lick Observatory negative, printed by Adams. Please refer to the condition report and/or the note in our on-line catalogue for more details.