An anonymous seller is offering a coveted collection of Ansel Adams photographs through the online auctioneer Charitybuzz.com. According to the site, 100% of the sale's proceeds will go towards the restoration of the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias in Yosemite National Park.
Between 1978 and his death at age 82 in 1984, Adams (American, 1902–1984) created a special inventory of photographic prints of the works he considered to be his finest and most iconic. He chose 75 images from 2,500 negatives, dating from 1923 to 1968, with the goal of making his best work available to a wide range of institutions for public display and educational purposes.
Adams had collectors fill out applications to acquire his Museum Set, and about 20 to 30 sets sold within the first five to six years of the project. A set of 25 was originally priced at $30,000, with the full set of 75 priced much higher.
Now, 45 original, signed gelatin silver prints from the Ansel Adams Museum Set is available for bidding at Charitybuzz.com. The site says each print was made by Adams from original negatives and signed by the photographer himself, including his famous "Moonrise, Hernandez, Mexico." The estimated value is listed at $1.4 million.
Bidding is open at www.charitybuzz.com/catalog_items/543200 through May 22. The sale has some restrictions, including the photographer's own stipluations that the set goes on public view (eventually) and is kept altogether.
Proceeds will benefit Yosemite National Park, a place that served as Adams's greatest muse. Adams was one of the first photographers to capture the emblematic views of the park, now celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Yosemite Grant Act.
Charitybuzz raises funds for nonprofits by auctioning items and experiences. Since launching, the company has raised over $100 million for charity.
Select images from another Ansel Adams Museum Set are currently on view through July 20 in the exhibit "In Focus: Ansel Adams," at the Getty Center in Los Angeles.