Lot 22
  • 22

Ansel Adams

180,000 - 220,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Ansel Adams
  • 'Sierra Nevada from Lone Pine, California' (Winter Sunrise)
  • Gelatin silver print
mural-sized, mounted to Crescent illustration board, signed in ink on the mount, the photographer's Carmel studio stamps (BMFA 7 and 8), titled in ink, on the reverse, framed, 1944, probably printed between 1963 and 1970


Gift of the photographer to Wallace and Mary Stegner, 1975

By descent to a private collection

Bonhams New York, 28 April 2015, Lot 6


Shelburn Museum, Vermont, Ansel Adams and Edward Burtynsky: Constructed Landscapes, June - October 2010


Nancy Newhall, Ansel Adams: The Eloquent Light, Photographs 1923-1963 (San Francisco, 1963), unpaginated

Ansel Adams (Morgan & Morgan, 1972), pl. 77

Ansel Adams: Yosemite and the Range of Light (Boston, 1979), pl. 99

James Alinder and John Szarkowski, Ansel Adams: Classic Images (Boston, 1985), pl. 38

John Szarkowski, Ansel Adams at 100 (San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 2001), pl. 85

Ansel Adams, Examples: The Making of 40 Photographs (Boston, 2002), p. 162

Andrea G. Stillman, Ansel Adams: 400 Photographs (Boston, 2007), p. 245

Catalogue Note

This powerful mural-sized print of one of Adams's best-known images comes originally from the collection of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Wallace Stegner (1909-1993).  Long referred to as ‘the dean of Western Writers,’ Stegner often explored his passion for the American landscape in his novels and short stories.  He and Adams shared a steadfast commitment to environmental conservation and both were intimately involved with the Sierra Club.  Over the course of their decades-long friendship, Adams gave Wallace and his wife, Mary, several photographs.   

Describing how Adams’s passion for nature preservation influenced his photographs, Stegner wrote, ‘The man who made unforgettable images out of grandeur and mystery of nature did so because he could not help doing so, because he loved what he saw.  The man who spent his energy defending nature against the careless and greedy also worked from love.  His environmentalism was not a side issue, something done with the left hand in spare time.  It sprang from the same source as his art, and involved him wholly’ (Letters and Images, p. ix). 

The present photograph has an impressive open tonality throughout, not typically associated with prints made in this era.  The 'L P' (for Lone Pine) is clearly visible in the dark hills at the left of the print.  These initials, which were actually cut into the mountainside, were often heavily retouched by Adams and, in 1976, removed from the negative altogether.

Of this ‘splendid snapshot,’ Stegner said, ‘I have that print on my wall in an enlargement of about two by three feet, a size that better suggests the grand scale.  I have looked at it, studied it, innumerable time, and every time I do so it lifts me.  It is like hearing the choral movement of Beethoven’s Ninth.  Once again, darkness has been overtaken by light, as if an earth promise were being kept’ (Arizona Highways, January 1984).