'ASPENS, NORTHERN NEW MEXICO'
mural-sized, mounted to Precision illustration board, signed in pencil on the mount, a Carmel studio stamp, with title and date in ink, on the reverse, 1958, probably printed in the 1960s
25⅝ by 20 in. (65.1 by 50.8 cm.)
This impressive photograph, on paper with a luminous range of tones and surface sheen, is in generally excellent condition. When examined very closely in high raking light, the following are visible: the faintest silvering at the extreme edges; and a few tiny raised areas, possibly a result of the mounting process, mostly in the lower portion. The lower left edge of the print is gently bumped.
The mount is evenly darkened where it was covered by a mat in its frame. There are a few tiny rust-colored deposits and small stains near the lower edge of the mount, mostly in the lower portion. The upper left corner of the mount is bumped and the upper paper-ply is folded back. There is other very minor wear to the edges of the mount. On the reverse of the mount there is a slight crease near the right edge. 'AA/3125' is written in an unidentified hand in pencil.
While this print has a Carmel studio stamp that was used by Adams during the 1970s (it is not found among the stamps in Karen Haas's and Rebecca Senf's first edition of 'Ansel Adams in the Lane Collection'), it has the characteristics of a print made in the 1960s, with its Precision illustration board mount; its range of light, gray, and dark tones; and the paper's appearance.
The overall tonality of this photograph is less dense and saturated than its catalogue illustration. An exceptional level of detail is visible throughout, particularly in the darkest areas of the print.
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.
Gift of the photographer to friend and San Francisco neighbor Otto Meyer, president of Paul Masson Vineyards
Private collection, by descent
Butterfield & Butterfield, San Francisco, 29 April 1987, Sale 3785M, Lot 3622
Michael Shapiro Gallery, San Francisco
Gainesville, The Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art, University of Florida, Ansel Adams: Visualizing the American Landscape, May - August 2004
Nancy Newhall, Ansel Adams: The Eloquent Light (Sierra Club, 1963), p. 19
Ansel Adams, Examples: The Making of 40 Photographs, (Boston, 1983), p. 63
Andrea G. Stillman, Ansel Adams: 400 Photographs (Boston, 2007), p. 373
Paul Masson, an entrepreneurial young Frenchman from a family of well-established winemakers, came to California in the late 19th Century and founded his own winery near Saratoga not long after. Masson was instrumental in putting California wine on the world map, and his vineyard, now operating under the name of The Mountain Winery, remains a staple of Saratoga Valley’s wine country as well as a scenic concert and event venue.
The photograph offered here comes originally from the collection of Otto Meyer, Adams’s friend and neighbor in San Francisco, who took over production and development of Paul Masson Vineyards in 1945. Meyer later became president of the Vineyards and eventually chairman of the board, remaining in that role until his retirement in 1974. In the early 1960s, Paul Masson Vineyards commissioned photographers Ansel Adams and Pirkle Jones to document the intricacies and myriad stages of the winemaking process, from plowing the fields, to picking the grapes, to examining the bottled wine in the damp cellars. The photographs from that project toured the country from 1963-66 under the auspices of the Smithsonian Institution.