mural-sized, flush-mounted to Homosote board, with the annotation 'Mr. Overhage, Bldg. 65/Kodak Pk' in pencil on the reverse, framed, 1942, probably printed between 1947 and 1954
Other prints of this image:
Andrea G. Stillman, Ansel Adams: 400 Photographs (Boston, 2007), p. 165
Ansel Adams, Photographs of the Southwest (Boston, 1976), pl. 31
Ansel Adams, Examples: The Making of 40 Photographs (Boston, 1983), p. 128
Ansel Adams and Mary Street Alinder, Ansel Adams: An Autobiography (Boston, 1985), p. 220
The Mural Project: Photography by Ansel Adams (Santa Barbara, 1989), pl. 21
Andrea G. Stillman and William Turnage, eds., Ansel Adams: Our National Parks (Boston, 1992), p. 98
Ansel Adams: The National Park Service Photographs (New York, 1994), pl. 48
In 1941, Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes commissioned Ansel Adams to make photographs of the National Parks and other properties under the administration of his department. For 'The Mural Project,' as it was known, Adams was to provide mural-sized images for the halls and meeting rooms in the Department of the Interior Building in Washington, D. C. The two photographic trips he made in 1941 and 1942 were intended as preliminary surveys. Because of World War II, the project was halted and never resumed.
Canyon de Chelly National Monument, in northeastern Arizona, is one of the longest continuously-inhabited landscapes in North America. A National Park monument since 1931, it has a unique position within the National Park Service in that the land is owned by the Navajo Nation. Construction of what is now known as the White House Ruin began in about 1070 A.D.
Soon after making his first print from the negative, Adams realized how similar it was to Timothy O'Sullivan's iconic 1873 Wheeler Survey image. He describes the making of this photograph in Examples: The Making of 40 Photographs: 'I had stood unaware in almost the same spot on the canyon floor, about the same month and day, and at nearly the same time of day that O'Sullivan must have made his exposure, almost exactly sixty-nine years earlier' (p. 127).
The 'Mr. Overhage' to which the annotation on the reverse of this mural refers is physicist and electrical engineer Dr. Carl F. J. Overhage (1910-1995), who was Assistant Director of the Color Technology division at Eastman Kodak from 1946 to 1954. Dr. Overhage, an accomplished scientist and author whose specialties were photography and electronics, was at the forefront of many technologies. While at Technicolor, he was issued a patent in 1944 for eyeglasses that made color movies appear three-dimensional. At MIT from 1954 until his retirement in 1973, Dr. Overhage was director of the Lincoln Laboratory and a professor of engineering, making contributions to air defense and space reconnaissance, and pioneering work in information technology.
The mural is also inscribed on the reverse, 'Bldg 65/Kodak Pk,' an abbreviation for 'Building 65/Kodak Park,' where Overhage worked at the time he acquired this mural. Until recently, Kodak Park was Eastman Kodak's principal research and manufacturing site, a vast industrial park that was the epicenter of images and photography—both analog and later, digital—one of the most important components of the information age. Building 65, built in 1947, housed the Color Print and Processing division, and was later a research and development center.
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