“SNOW-CAPPED PEAKS AND GEMLIKE MOUNTAIN LAKES”: 1938 SIGNED LIMITED EDITION OF SIERRA NEVADA SIGNED BY ANSEL ADAMS, ONE OF ONLY 500 COPIES, WITH 50 EXQUISITE HALFTONE PLATES
ADAMS, Ansel. Sierra Nevada: The John Muir Trail. Berkeley: Archetype, 1938. Large folio (13 by 17 inches), original ivory cloth. Housed in a custom clamshell box.
Signed limited first edition, number 40 of only 500 copies signed by Adams, who “realized in his pictures what Walt Whitman celebrated in his poetry,” featuring 50 luminous mounted halftone prints including “Half Dome,” very scarce in original cloth.
To Ansel Adams, the open vistas of the American West were "an event, an ephemeral, continuing drama. The protagonist of the drama is the light." Adams photographed these "snow-capped peaks and gemlike mountain lakes… so persuasively that it has seemed to most younger photographers of ambition that that book has been closed" (Szarkowski, American Landscapes, 13-14). In the luminous images of Sierra Nevada, this superlative landscape photographer affirms his renown for elevating "the act of photography to a religious experience. He realized in his pictures what Walt Whitman celebrated in his poetry: the uniqueness of American landscape and nature" (Icons of Photography, 96). Commissioned by a president of the Sierra Club to assemble a book of photographs in tribute to his son, who died in a climbing accident, Adams created this outstanding volume, whose striking halftones set a new high standard for photobooks. Included is "Half Dome," widely considered his first masterpiece and "one of Adams' most famous mountain subjects" (New York Times). In these images Adams created a timeless vision "of the Sierra Nevada—the revelation of the beauty of wide horizons and the tender perfection of detail" (Foreword). Each separately mounted halftone print measures nine by seven inches. Without extremely scarce dust jacket. See Open Book, 88; Roth, 58.
Plates and text fine, cloth a bit of faint foxing, mildly toned spine, upper corner gently bumped, near-fine. A magnificent production.