Ansel Adams (American, 1902-1984)
Clearing Winter Storm, Yosemite National Park, California, 1937, printed c. 1973-77. Signed "Ansel Adams" in pencil on the mount l.r., identified on a hand stamp and titled and dated "1944" in ink within the stamp on the mount verso. Gelatin silver print, 15 3/4 x 19 1/4 in. (40.0 x 48.9 cm), framed.
Provenance: A private Massachusetts collection.
N.B. Regarded as one the foremost photographers of the American West and a passionate preservationist, Ansel Adams dedicated his life to photographing nature and recording the majesty of the Yosemite Valley and the National Parks. Through his technical prowess behind the camera and steadfastness in capturing the most balanced shot, Adams created fine art photography that was accessible and revered by the American public.
This shot of Inspiration Point was originally captured around midday in early December of 1937 after Adams had patiently waited for the heavy-rain-turned-winter-storm to clear. The image evokes the sublime grandeur of nature and the temporal character of the storm as the clouds almost appear to carry onward as the storm dissipates and sunlight fills the valley. Adams' objective and direct representation of Yosemite are hallmarks of the "straight" photographic style he championed, while the rich tonality of the landscape demonstrates his Zone System, which assisted in creating the desired tonal values through calculations of exposure and development.
Through his photographs, the creation of the Zone System, and numerous photography manuals, Adams educated the public on photographic techniques and sought to cultivate the concept of photography as fine art. Clearing Winter Storm stands as a quintessential representation of Ansel Adams' style and a testament to the enthralling majesty of nature.
Adams dated the negative of this image anywhere from 1940-1944, though it is now generally accepted the negative is from 1937. The handstamp (stamp 11) on the verso establishes the print date c. 1973-1977 (Haas, pg. 146).
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