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    Ansel Adams (American, 1902-1984)
    Portfolio Four: What Majestic Word, In Memory of Russell Varian (complete portfolio with 15 photographs), 1940-1963
    Gelatin silver prints, printed 1963
    10 x 12-5/8 inches (25.4 x 32.1 cm); and smaller and the reverse (images/sheets)
    Each signed in ink, mount recto. Each credited, titled, and numbered 182 on Portfolio Four label, mount verso. From an edition of 260.
    Published by The Sierra Club, San Francisco.

    I. Teklanika River, Mount McKinley National Park, Alaska, 1947; II. Sequoia Roots, Mariposa Grove, Yosemite National Park, California, 1950; III. Leaf, Glacier Bay National Monument, Alaska, 1948; IV. Dunes, Oceano, California, 1963; V. Cathedral Peak and Lake, Yosemite National Park, California, circa 1960; VI. Vernal Fall, Yosemite Valley, California, circa 1948; VII. Clearing Storm, Sonoma County Hills, California, 1951; VIII. Oak Tree, Sunset City, Sierra Foothills, California, 1962; IX. Castle Rock, Summit Road above Saratoga, California, 1963; X. Northern California Coast Redwoods, circa 1960; XI. Orchard, Early Spring, near Stanford University, California, circa 1940; XII. Siesta Lake, Yosemite National Park, California, circa 1958; XIII. Storm Surf, Timber Cove, California, circa 1960; XIV. Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite National Park, California, 1941; XV. Sierra Nevada, Winter Evening from the Owens Valley, California, 1962.

    A. Adams and J. Szarkowski, The Portfolios of Ansel Adams, Little Brown & Co., 1982.

    Portfolio Four, considered among many to be Adams' finest, was published as a tribute to his close friend and renowned conservationist, Russell Varian.

    In 1959, Varian passed away unexpectedly from a heart condition while doing what he loved; hiking in Alaska, scouting locations that were being considered for protection as national parks. A Stanford engineer and early resident of Silicon Valley, Varian's true passion was nature conservancy. He and his wife Dorothy frequently hiked California's Santa Cruz mountains, and focused their efforts there.

    Varian's long-held dream was the acquisition and preservation of California's redwood lands, a dream shared by his fellow Sierra Club member Adams, and the Sempervirens Fund, California's oldest land conservancy.

    Portfolio Four was released in collaboration with the Sierra Club and the Sempervirens Fund as a fundraiser, in the hope that Varian's goal could come to fruition in his memory. The effort was a success, and enough funds were raised to acquire the land that is now Castle Rock State Park in Northern California. Varian's dream was fully realized in 1968 with the official establishment of the Park, which still exists today, and is still supported by the Sempervirens Fund.

    The portfolio in its entirety is a singularly beautiful dedication to a remarkable man. Even its subtitle, What Majestic Word, comes from a line in a poem written by John Varian, Russell's father. Upon release of the portfolio in 1963, Adams said of it and his friend, "Every photo in this Portfolio is related in some direct or indirect way to the places, things, and moods Russell Varian loved. In some the essences of light and space dominate; in others the substance of rock and wood, and the luminous insistence of growing things."

    More information about Ansel Adams, also known as Adams, Ansel, Ansel Easton Adams.

    Condition Report*: Overall excellent condition. Some mounts with slightly bumped corners, not affecting the images. Sequoia Roots (image II): two diagonal scratches, one 1/4-inch, the other 3/4-inch, with emulsion loss in lower right quadrant, each with applied retouching. An approximately 2-inch scratch at left side of upper edge, not retouched. A 1/4-inch line of chipped loss in lower part of left edge. Bumped upper left and lower right corners of sheet. Dunes (image IV): a very few pinpoint dots of foxing to the mount, not affecting the image. Cathedral Peak (image V): some peeling and chipping to the emulsion at corners and extreme edges. A pinpoint dot of foxing to mount in lower right corner, not affecting the image. Vernal Fall (image VI): one very small chip to lower edge in lower right corner. Clearing Storm (image VII): missing label on mount verso; adhesive residue appears where label was previously. Oak Tree, Sunset City (image VIII): a pinpoint loss to the emulsion at upper edge, right of the treetop. A small dot of accretion on the mount at lower edge, not affecting the image. Redwoods (image X): an extremely few faint pinpoint impressions to the emulsion layer in upper right quadrant. A pinpoint dot of foxing to mount in upper right corner, not affecting the image. Orchard (image XI): some scattered peeling and chipping to the emulsion at extreme edges of sheet. area of faint discoloration at lower edge of mount, not affecting the image. Siesta Lake (image XII): small dot of foxing with small area of smudging to lower mount, dot of foxing to upper mount, none affecting the image. Storm Surf (image XIII): a very few pinpoint impressions to the emulsion layer. a very few pinpoint dots of foxing to the mount, not affecting the image. Tuolumne Meadows (image XIV): a very few extremely faint pinpoint impressions in the emulsion layer along lower edge. Two pinpoint dots of foxing to mount at right, not affecting the image. Each sheet is dry mounted to board measuring 14 by 18 inches. Not framed.
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. Heritage does not guarantee the condition of frames and shall not be liable for any damage/scratches to frames, glass/acrylic coverings, original boxes, display accessories, or art that has slipped in frames. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2021
    8th Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 6
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,763

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