T his spring, Sotheby’s is pleased to present The American Scene including Important Photographs from the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, an online sale which will feature 19th Century and Western American art. This auction will be lead by George Inness’ monumental exhibition piece A Summer Morning being sold by the Brooklyn Museum of Art to support Museum Collections. A selection of still life paintings by William McCloskey, Margaretta Peale and Severin Roesen will be offered alongside exceptional Hudson River School paintings by Albert Bierstadt, Alfred Bricher, Jasper Francis Cropsey, Sanford Gifford and Francis Augustus Silva. Additional properties will be sold by the Art Institute of Chicago, the Late Paula and Don Gaston, and Barbara and Ted Alfond.
Additionally, this auction will include an important suite of photographs by Ansel Adams being sold by the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation to support their continued mission. For nearly 70 years, the Foundation’s residency program has benefitted artists from Agnes Martin to Hee Sook Kim and including Ansel Adams. This exceptional collection of ten early photographs captures the topography of the Taos landscape and will be positioned alongside works of American Western art by artists such as Walter Ufer, William Wendt and Cyrus Dallin.
When Ansel Adams visited New Mexico for the first time in 1927, he could not have predicted the impact the region would have on his work. Over the ensuing four decades, Adams regularly returned to New Mexico for extended visits, allowing him to work and exchange ideas with other members of the small artist communities around Taos and Santa Fe. Every trip brought a heightened appreciation for the New Mexico landscape, culture, and architecture, made evident in each subsequent body of work. During one such trip, Adams met the philanthropist and patron Helene Wurlitzer, who later acquired 10 photographs by Adams, including 9 rare views of Taos as well as his seminal Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico. These exceptional prints, each made in the early 1940s, have been in the Helene Wurlitzer Collection for nearly three quarters of a century.