Renowned 20th-century American Photographer Ansel Adams Featured in Solo Exhibition at Fenimore Art Museum

Publication Date: 
March 2007
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Cooperstown, NY, March 20, 2007—The dramatic black and white landscape photographs by renowned 20th century photographer Ansel Adams will be on view in an upcoming exhibition, Ansel Adams: The Man Who Captured the Earth’s Beauty, at the Fenimore Art Museum in historic Cooperstown, NY. The exhibition will feature 25 of the artist’s photographs and will highlight his unique ability to capture the American West’s astounding natural beauty. Organized by the Mint Museum of Art, in Charlotte, NC, Ansel Adams will be on view at the Fenimore Art Museum from April 1, 2007 through May 13, 2007.

Born in San Francisco, Ansel Adams (1902–1984) took his first photograph when he was fourteen with a Kodak Brownie box camera in Yosemite Valley, CA. Although trained as a concert pianist from 1914 through 1927, Adams also studied photography with the photo-finisher Frank Dittman. By 1930, Adams had become a professional photographer, choosing the American West as his life-long subject.

Among the last of the romantic artists in the 20th century to view the vast American landscape and wilderness as metaphors for freedom and heroism, Adams was one of the few photographers able to capture nature’s true power and beauty. His love of nature coupled with his artistic vision and technical skills led him to play a seminal role in forming a new pictorial understanding and reverence of the American landscape. Some of Adams’ most renowned works which highlight his artistic vision include Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico; Moon and Half Dome, Yosemite National Park, California; and Clearing Winter Storm, Yosemite National Park, California.

In 1932, Adams was a key figure in the founding of Group f/64 with Edward Weston, Imogene Cunningham, and others to promote what they called “pure” photography. Adams also founded the department of photography at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City in 1940; the department of photography at the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco, CA in 1946; and The Friends of Photography in Carmel, California in 1967. Also a talented writer and teacher, Adams made a tremendous impact on the history of creative photography. From 1955 until 1984, he conducted annual photography workshops, first in Yosemite National Park, and later closer to his home in the Carmel Highlands. Adams was also recognized as a dedicated conservationist, serving as a member of the Sierra Club board of directors from 1934 to 1971, and receiving numerous awards for his conservation work, most notably the Presidential Medal of Freedom awarded by President Carter in 1980.

The Mint Museum’s collection of Ansel Adams’ photographs was donated by Mr. and Mrs. Peter G. Scotese, whose primary interest was to give the public access to Adams’ works. The photographs in this exhibition were published by the Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust in 1980 and 1981 from vintage negatives.

Exhibition Organization and Tour
Ansel Adams will visit fourteen cities, including Las Cruces Museum of Fine Art & Culture, Ogunquit Museum of American Art, Rolling Hills Wildlife Adventure, and the Lora Robins Gallery of Design from Nature, among others over a three-year period, from 2006 through 2009. The tour was developed and is being managed by Smith Kramer Fine Art Services, an exhibition tour development company in Kansas City, Missouri. Martha T. Mayberry of the Mint Museum of Art in Charlotte, North Carolina, curated the exhibition.

This presentation of Ansel Adams: The Man Who Captured the Earth’s Beauty at Fenimore Art Museum is sponsored in part by Fenimore Asset Management.

About the Fenimore Art Museum

One of the nation’s premier art institutions, the Fenimore Art Museum is home to an exceptionally rich collection of American folk art and American Indian art as well as important holdings in American decorative arts, photography, and twentieth-century art. Founded in 1945 in Cooperstown, New York, the museum is part of the New York State Historical Association (NYSHA), founded in 1899. The museum’s renowned Eugene and Clare Thaw Collection, housed in the American Indian Wing, is a masterpiece collection of more than 800 art objects, representing a broad scope of North American cultures. The collections of folk and American art include seminal works by Grandma Moses, Gilbert Stuart, Thomas Cole, William Sidney Mount, Benjamin West, and John H. I. Browere. The museum offers a range of interactive educational programming for children, families, and adults, including lectures and workshops for museum visitors and distance learning instruction for classrooms nationwide. The museum further explores and examines our cultural history by organizing and hosting nationally touring art and history exhibitions, including Grandma Moses: Grandmother to the Nation; Treasures from Olana: The Landscapes of Frederic Edwin Church; A Deaf Artist in Early America: The Worlds of John Brewster, Jr.; Winslow Homer: Masterworks from the Adirondacks; and Ralph Fasanella’s America.

The Fenimore Art Museum is located on 5798 State Hwy. 80, Lake Road, in Cooperstown. The museum’s Fenimore Café, overlooking beautiful Otsego Lake, features wonderful views and a tranquil setting amid the terraced gardens. The Museum Shop offers fine jewelry, art reproductions, and a wide selection of publications on folk art, history, and Native American art. Museum admission is $11 for adults, $9.50 for visitors age 65 and over, and $5 for children age 7 to 12; children 6 and under and NYSHA members are admitted free. Reduced price combination admission tickets that include The Farmers’ Museum and The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum are also available. The museum is open from April 1 through December 30. For museum hours or general information, please call 1-888-547-1450 or visit www.fenimoreartmuseum.org.

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For further information please contact:
Christine Liggio, Public Relations Office
Fenimore Art Museum/New York State Historical Association
Phone: (607) 547-1472/E-mail: c.liggio@nysha.org

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