Ansel Adams: The Masterworks

August 11 – December 30, 2018
Nordhausen Gallery

American photographer Ansel Easton Adams (1902-1984) is most known for his black and white images of the American West, particularly Yosemite National Park. Adams was also an environmentalist, and primarily used large-format cameras because their high resolution helped ensure sharpness in his images. Over the course of his career, Adams sought to elevate photography to fine art – comparable to painting, sculpture and music.

Born later in his parents’ lives, Adams experienced a somewhat solitary childhood. During this period of solitude, Adams would develop a fondness for nature. He spent a large amount of time outdoors, taking long walks on the dunes or along Lobos Creek. Adams and his family would first visit Yosemite National Park in 1916. Adams would go on to spend a substantial amount of time every year in the park from 1916 until his death in 1984.

In the early 1980s, Ansel Adams hand selected, printed, and signed his favorite photographs for members of his family. The thirty prints on display belong to his granddaughter, Virginia Adams Mayhew, who has graciously loaned her collection. This exhibition showcases photographs from an edition known as The Museum Set, a concept originated by Adams and Margaret Weston, gallery owner and wife of photographer Cole Weston, to meet the demand for Adams’ prints.

Adult Lecture
Oct 2 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Explore themes within the Museum’s collection and exhibitions through engaging talks by local and regional history and arts professionals. Each program is free and open to the public.

October 2:  Emily Burns

In dialogue with the exhibitions “Ansel Adams: the Masterworks” and “The Idea of the West,” this talk considers thematic intersections with appropriations of the American West as a flexible metaphor in Franco-American exchange in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. How did French, Native American, and US observers define the West for their own cultural goals? How do the works in the exhibitions on view reveal that same flexibility?

If you are interested in purchasing a $10 lunch, please contact the Education Dept. at by September 28.

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