REDWOODS, RICHARDSON GROVE, CALIFORNIA (DETAIL)
mural-sized, flush-mounted, framed, circa1932, probably printed in the 1960s
45¼ by 34 in. (114.9 by 86.4 cm.)
Commanding in scale, this mural-sized print conveys an impressive range of tones, from bright, creamy highlights where the sun hit the tree bark to rich darks in the dense forest foliage.
This photograph is presented here in a modern mat and frame. As is typical of Adams murals that are mounted to heavy board and were originally displayed unglazed, there is chipping of the emulsion along the edges. This is not visible when viewing the print in its current matted and framed presentation.
Upon close examination, there are small areas of in-painting and expertly-applied retouching in isolated areas throughout the print, including a 2-inch horizontal scratch in the central portion of the image. In raking light, the following are visible upon very close inspection: faint craquelure, primarily in the upper portion of the image; some small creases and scratches that may break the emulsion; and an isolated area that is slightly raised in the lower right portion of the image, perhaps the result of mounting. This print has recently undergone conservation, and a full treatment report is available from the department upon request.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.
Acquired from the photographer, 1960s
Bequeathed to a private collection, 1980s
Acquired by the present owner from the above
Ansel Adams and Nancy Newhall, The Pageant of History in Northern California, (San Francisco: American Trust Company, 1954), pl. 20
Ansel Adams, The Print: The Ansel Adams Photography Series 3 (New York, 2018 digital edition), fig. 5-16, p. 113
The date of this negative has long been a subject of debate. While it has often been dated to the 1960s, it was included years earlier as a lavish full-page illustration in Nancy Newhall’s seminal 1954 volume The Pageant of History in Northern California. In 1983, when editing the final version of his technical manual The Print, Adams chose to include this image – illustrating the full negative and dating it ‘c. 1932’. Of this image, Adams wrote, ‘This is an exceedingly difficult negative to print. I made the negative before the Zone System had been formulated, and the rule was simply to reduce negative development for a high-contrast subject. . .I dodged the shadowed tree trunks with an oval wand . . . covering each tree trunk from top to bottom . . .The dodging must begin somewhat above the top of the tree trunks and end below the bottom, otherwise these areas will appear too dark. Slight overlapping of adjacent areas is essential for consistent effect’ (The Print, p. 132). The luminous, mural-sized print offered is the result not only of Adams’ unparalleled eye behind the camera but also his exacting practice in the darkroom.