Adams’ works go to Huntington
The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens in San Marino has acquired a series of limited-edition Ansel Adams photographic works — seven portfolios containing 90 images from throughout his career, representing what he once described as “an excellent cross section of my work.”
The California photographer helped to define 20th century landscape photography with his elegant blackand-white portraits of the American West: the geologic face of Yosemite’s Half Dome, the stark beauty of his New Mexican churches, the cotton-y forms of billowing clouds floating over scrub-covered hills.
The portfolios were a gift of George Melvin Byrne and Barbara S. Barrett-Byrne. George Byrne, a doctor and amateur photographer, had acquired the portfolios from Adams after becoming acquainted with the artist via one of his photography workshops in Yosemite. Huntington photography curator Jennifer Watts reports that the portfolios were in storage for decades.
Particularly striking are L.A.-area images, such as an image of a cemetery angel surrounded by oil derricks in Long Beach — a surreal image of industry and beauty.
Separately, the Huntington announced it also had acquired two 1936 paintings, “Burlesque” by Milton Avery and “Irises (The Sentinels)” by Helen Lundeberg, as well as a sculpture by Sargent Claude Johnson.