The J. Paul Getty Museum already has an extensive collection of Ansel Adams photographs, boasting 40 in all. But on Monday, the museum’s repertoire grew. A local couple donated 25 more photographs, keeping their word on a promise made by their late parents to Adams.
“The Museum Set” was a project captained by Adams in 1979. Out of 2,500 of his photographs, he chose 75 in which he would sell to buyers only with the promise that one day they would eventually donate them to a museum. The photos range from his earlier years in Yosemite in 1923 to as late as 1968.
Leonard and Marjorie Vernon purchased the photos in 1981; over thirty years later, Carol Vernon and her husband Robert Turbin kept Vernon’s parents’ word and donated the photos to the Getty Museum.
“The Museum Set” allows us to see how Adams wanted his work to be viewed by future generations and it is a sort of timeline for the legendary photographers career.
The prints span from the Sierra Nevada’s, Alaska, Northern California-including an image of the “Golden Gate” San Francisco Bay in 1932 before the bridge was built- and the majority of the photos (nine in all) from Yosemite National Park. Also in the collection are two portraits: “Georgia O’Keeffe and Orville Cox at the Canyon de Chelly National Monument” (1937) and a close up headshot of Jose Clemente Orozco in New York in 1933.
Ansel Adams was born in San Francisco in 1902 and in 1916; Adams made his first trip to Yosemite where he began taking images of the national park on his father’s Brownie camera. Since then, Adams went to Yosemite every year for the rest of his life. In 1984, Adams died at the age of 82, leaving behind a legacy of a new kind of environmental photography and forever being an American icon.
For more information on the collection you can go to the press release at the J. Paul Getty Museum’s website.