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  • Press release
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  • New York
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  • For immediate release
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  • 7 November 2019

RELEASE | Ansel Adams and The American West: Photographs to Benefit The Center for Creative Photography

Sold to Establish a New Acquisition Endowment in Order to Diversify the Center’s Permanent Collection


(from left to right) Ansel Adams (1902–1984), Georgia O'Keeffe and Orville Cox, Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Arizona, 1937, gelatin silver print, mounted on board, printed 1973-1977, titled and dated in ink in photographer's Carmel credit stamp [BMFA Stamp 11], with Center for Creative Photography & AAPRT stamps (mount, verso), Estimate: $12,000-18,000; Ansel Adams (1902–1984), Clearing Winter Storm, Yosemite Valley, California, 1938, gelatin silver print, mounted on board, printed 1978-1984, titled in ink in photographer's Carmel credit stamp [BMFA Stamp I], with Center for Creative Photography & AAPRT stamps (mount, verso), Estimate: $30,000-50,000

 New York – Christie’s is pleased to announce Ansel Adams And The American West: Photographs From The Center For Creative Photography, a sale of 150 Ansel Adams photographs to benefit The Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona, which begins with a live auction on 10 December at Christie’s New York and will follow with additional online sales in the spring and fall of 2020. The works explore the American West as captured by Adams and will benefit the Center in establishing a new acquisition endowment with the goal of diversifying their permanent collection.

Highlights from the December sale include Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico, 1941, gelatin silver print (estimate: $30,000 – 50,000), Clearing Winter Storm, Yosemite Valley, circa 1940, gelatin silver print (estimate: $30,000 – 50,000), The Tetons and the Snake River, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, 1942, gelatin silver print ($20,000 – 30,000), and Georgia O’Keeffe and Orville Cox, Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Arizona, 1937, gelatin silver print (estimate: $12,000 – 18,000).

The new acquisition endowment is possible due to Ansel Adams’ lifelong commitment to the field of photography. When Adams co-founded The Center for Creative Photography, he wanted it to be more than a museum solely dedicated to exhibiting his work. His vision, which has become a reality, was to create a seminal place for the exhibition, research, dialogue, and celebration of all photographers and photography throughout time. The distinct group of works in this sale are duplicate prints that were initially placed at the Center by Adams and reside outside of his archive. This sale will allow the Center to continue to further his vision by diversifying its collection.

Darius Himes, International Head of Photography at Christie’s, explained: “We are thrilled to have been entrusted with the sale of these Ansel Adams works from the Center’s important holdings. The reputation of The Center for Creative Photography is one that instantly resonates within the photography community for having set the standard as a working archive and resource. The sales will offer students and collectors alike the opportunity to acquire prints by Ansel Adams of some of his most memorable images — many of which have never before been on the market — and help the Center further their mission of continuing to build an ever-relevant and important collection.”

Anne Breckenridge Barrett, Associate Vice President for the Arts, University of Arizona and Director, Center for Creative Photography, remarked: “The Center is thrilled to be working with Christie’s on this important project. We are continuing Adams’s legacy by using his work to grow and diversify the collection. By adding more 21st century photography to the collection we are expanding our breadth and depth. We are grateful for Adams’s generosity and foresight, which have made this project possible.”

About The Center for Creative Photography: The Center for Creative Photography is recognized as one of the world's finest academic art museums and study centers for the history of photography. The Center opened in 1975 following a meeting between the University of Arizona President Dr. John Schaefer and Ansel Adams. Beginning with the archives of five living master photographers — Ansel Adams, Wynn Bullock, Harry Callahan, Aaron Siskind, and Frederick Sommer — the collection has since grown to include 270 archival collections. Among these are some of the most recognizable names in 20th century North American photography: Lola Álvarez Bravo, W. Eugene Smith, Edward Weston, and Garry Winogrand. Altogether there are over 8 million archival objects in the Center's collection including negatives, work prints, contact sheets, albums, scrapbooks, correspondence, writings, audiovisual materials, and memorabilia. In addition to whole archival collections, the Center also actively acquires individual photographs by modern and contemporary photographers and currently holds more than 110,000 works by over 2,200 photographers.

About Christie’s

Founded in 1766, Christie’s is a world-leading art and luxury business. Renowned and trusted for its expert live and online auctions, as well as its bespoke private sales, Christie’s offers a full portfolio of global services to its clients, including art appraisal, art financing, international real estate and education. Christie’s has a physical presence in 46 countries, throughout the Americas, Europe, Middle East, and Asia Pacific, with flagship international sales hubs in New York, London, Hong Kong, Paris and Geneva. It also is the only international auction house authorized to hold sales in mainland China (Shanghai).

Christie’s auctions span more than 80 art and luxury categories, at price points ranging from $200 to over $100 million. In recent years, Christie’s has achieved the world record price for an artwork at auction (Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi, 2017), for a 20th century artwork (Andy Warhol’s Shot Sage Blue Marilyn, 2022) and for a work by a living artist (Jeff Koons’ Rabbit, 2019). Christie's is also recognised as a reference for prestigious single owner collections, having auctioned 8 of the 10 most important collections in history.

Christie’s Private Sales offers a seamless service for buying and selling art, jewellery and watches outside of the auction calendar, working exclusively with Christie’s specialists at a client’s individual pace.

Recent innovations at Christie’s include the groundbreaking sale of the first NFT for a digital work of art ever offered at a major auction house (Beeple’s Everydays, March 2021), with the unprecedented acceptance of cryptocurrency as a means of payment. As an industry leader in digital innovation, Christie’s also continues to pioneer new technologies that are redefining the business of art, including use of hologram technology to tour life-size 3D objects around the world, and the the creation of viewing and bidding experiences that integrate augmented reality, global livestreaming, buy-now channels, and hybrid sales formats. 

Christie’s is dedicated to advancing responsible culture throughout its business and communities worldwide, including achieving sustainability through net zero carbon emissions by 2030, and actively using its platform in the art world to amplify under-represented voices and support positive change.

Browse, bid, discover, and join us for the best of art and luxury at: www.christies.com or by downloading Christie’s apps. The COVID-related re-opening status of our global locations is available here.