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Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico shows a nighttime moon over a cloud-fringed mountain range with a graveyard in the foreground.  (Ansel Adams, Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust / September 17, 2007)



On Tuesday, December 8, Swann Auction Galleries will conduct a two-part auction of Photographic Literature & Fine Photographs, which offers many rare and museum-worthy works. Of special note is a vintage print of Ansel Adams’s Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico (first illustration). The Adams photograph is arguably his best known work. Taken in the late afternoon on October 31, 1941, the poetic and richly symbolic image depicts a rural cemetery in the foreground, the gravestones illuminated by the setting sun. The eye is drawn to a waxing moon above a sweeping bank of clouds that meet mountains framing the horizon. This particular print, in which Adams rendered the clouds and sky in a range of subtle gray tones, was created in 1948. It is believed that Adams produced fewer than 10 photographs with this delicate tonal quality, and three are now in museum collections. The photograph is signed and inscribed to Valentino Sarra, a photographer and W.P.A. poster designer, who was a friend of Adams (estimate: $350,000 to $450,000).

Swann Galleries
104 East 25th St.
New York, New York

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