Fayetteville Museum of Art

Fayetteville, NC




Ansel Adams: A Legacy - Masterworks from the Friends of Photography Collection Exhibition Tour

January 28 - March 18, 2001


Organized by the Ansel Adams Friends of Photography and the Fayetteville Museum of Art, this exhibition is a tribute to the founder of The Friends of Photography and is a comprehensive survey of the wide ranging career of Adams. It includes the photographer's well-known vistas of natural beauty, such as Monolith, The Face of Half Dome (1927) and Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico (1941) as well as more intimate portraits, close-ups and architectural views. This exhibition will include some of the works seen recently at the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh, but will focus mainly on works from the later period of Adams career. The photographs were printed by the artist himself in the 1960's and 1970's, and attest to Adam's constant redefining and eventual perfection of the gelatin silver process in the last decades of his life. (left: cutline pending)

Ansel Adams (1902-1984) profoundly influenced the course of twentieth-century photography not only through the example of his sumptuous and technically precise images, but also by means of his personal energy and devotion to advancing the cause of photography as an art form. As an artist, educator, innovator, and writer, he helped establish many of the institutions that have come to represent the highest aspirations of the medium of photography, including The Friends of Photography.(left: cutline pending)

Ansel Adams, A Legacy consists of prints from the end of Adams' long career, made at a time when his darkroom expertise had reached a remarkable maturity. Throughout his active life he struggled to master the technical challenges of black-and-white printing so that he could express his "visualization," or vision, of the original scene. More than any other photographer of his time, Adams was able to use the tools of the printing process to create dramatic and visually unforgettabIe images.

However, Adams was interested in much more than technical perfection. "You don't make a photograph just with a camera," he said. " You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved."

Near the end of his life, Adams produced prints intended to represent his life's work not just as a series of landscape images, but as a panorama of the possibilities of the "straight", unmanipulated style to which he adhered. Some of these prints were included in an exhibition organized by James G. and Mary Street Alinder for The Friends of Photography that was sent to Shanghai, China, one of San Francisco's sister cities, and later toured throughout the world. The photographs from this 1983 exhibition form the core of The Friends' collection and represent Adams' last attempt to demonstrate his versatility as a photographer. (left: The Tetons and Snake River, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, 1942, vintage silver print,)

Ansel Adams, A Legacy travels to the National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; Hunter Museum of Art, Chattanooga, Tennessee; Tampa Museum of Art, Tampa Florida, and Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Fort Wayne, Indiana. Venues in Japan include the Mitsukoshi Department Store Gallery, Nihonbashi, Tokyo; Ehime Prefecture Museum; Tonami City Museum, Toyama Prefecture; Kushiro Art Museum, Hokkaido; and Kawasaki City Museum, Kanagawa Prefecture. Venues included in the exhibition's return trip through the United States are pending.

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