Small College Receives Major Gift of Ansel Adams Photographs

  • October 10, 2012 23:04

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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)

The College of New Rochelle in New York State has received a gift of a complete Museum Set of photographs by renowned American photographer Ansel Adams with an appraised value of $2.5 million.

The Museum Set -- which includes 75 signed photographs -- is one of approximately ten complete Museum Sets of Adams' photographs believed to be in existence.  

Two sets are held by the photographer's children. Another set was recently acquired by the J. Paul Getty Museum.

In 1979, near the end of his seven decade career, Adams began to produce what he called “The Museum Set,” a project initiated with the help of Maggi Weston of Weston Gallery in Carmel, California. From over 2,500 of his negatives, Adams selected 75 images, which included photographs from as early as 1923 to as late as 1968. Collectors could purchase a “complete” set of 75 prints, or they could select their own set of 25 that Adams himself would print for purchase. Each set was called the “Ansel Adams Museum Set” and was purchased on the condition that the buyer would eventually donate their set to a museum.

The Museum Set donated to the college is a compilation of Adams' life work with photographs of landscapes, including his classic “Moonrise,” as well as photographs of famous American artist Georgia O’Keeffe and photographer Alfred Stieglitz.

The college will unveil 15 framed and signed photographs from the Museum Set at its Annual Gala on October 11.
The gift was made by Caryl Horwitz, a former faculty member at The College of New Rochelle, who donated the collection in memory of Sister Dorothy Ann Kelly, former president of the College who died in 2009. Mrs. Horwitz served as Director of the Graduate Art Department of The College of New Rochelle for many years until retiring in 1986. Her late husband, a successful business executive and avid art collector, acquired the Museum Set in the early 1980s.

"We are thrilled to announce this major gift of photographs by Ansel Adams, one of the world's most celebrated photographers. We are deeply grateful to Caryl Horwitz for this rare and extraordinary gift. This is a fitting tribute to Sister Dorothy Ann Kelly," said Judith A. Huntington, President of The College of New Rochelle.

“It is a true joy and a genuine honor to have his Museum Collection added to The College of New Rochelle’s art collection.  We are an extremely fortunate institution to have received such a kind gift from the Horwitz family.  I look forward to displaying the entire collection in the near future,” said Katrina Rhein, Director of the Castle Gallery.

The idea for the Museum Set dates back to 1978 when Ansel Adams was approached by a gallery owner in California with the concept for what was to become the Museum Set Edition of Fine Prints. Originally, it was conceived as a master set of 2,500 prints created from 75 images selected by Mr. Adams. Although he was able to complete a substantial number of the prints, Mr. Adams died in 1984 and the project was never finished.

Plans are under way to exhibit selected prints from the collection at the College's Castle Gallery. The Ansel Adams Museum Set adds to the College's collection of photographs that includes works by Gordon Parks.

“It is a profound compliment that Caryl chose CNR to be the beneficiary of this extraordinary gift. There were many other institutions she could have chosen. Clearly, it is indicative of the extraordinary influence and inspiration Sr. Dorothy Ann Kelly had on so many,” said Ms. Huntington.

Read more at College of New Rochelle

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