Maroon Bells

Ansel Adams Original Photographs

Negative: 1951
Print: 1974
Signed "Ansel Adams"
Image Size 16  x 20”
Condition: Excellent




Only a finite number of Ansel Adams Originals exist in the world. Each masterpiece combines the patience the artist used to capture perfect light and shadow, with the emotion he felt when confronted by the grandeur of the American landscape. Ansel’s rare ability to transform geographic reality into a transcendent emotional experience for the viewer established him as one of the foremost American photographers—and conservationists—of his time. Ansel Adams photographs served witness to the powerful beauty of America’s wilderness, influencing the protection of vast swaths of land in the West. Honoring Ansel with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1980, President Jimmy Carter stated: “At one with the power of the American landscape, and renowned for the patient skill and timeless beauty of his work, photographer Ansel Adams has been a visionary in his efforts to preserve this country’s wild and scenic areas, both on film and on Earth. Drawn to the beauty of nature’s monuments, he is regarded by environmentalists as a monument himself, and by photographers as a national institution. It is through his foresight and fortitude that so much of America has been saved for future Americans.”

Our 117-year-old business is still run by members of Ansel Adams' family, and commits to upholding the integrity and legacy of our gallery’s namesake. The Ansel Adams Gallery proudly houses the most extensive collection of Ansel Adams original photographs for sale in the world. Each original photograph we sell has a Certificate of Authenticity that states it has been authenticated by the Adams family as composed, exposed and printed by the artist himself. 

We are extremely selective about the origin and condition of each work of art we represent. If, for any reason, your photograph does not meet your expectations, we offer a full 30-day refund less the cost of shipping. Original photographs typically range from $4,000 to $70,000. For more information call 888-238-9244 or email

We welcome you to join us in our shared sense of pride, commitment, and responsibility—to both Ansel's artwork, and the story from which it was born. As an owner of an original Ansel Adams photograph, you become part of Ansel's legacy, honoring the exceptional beauty of America's landscapes and the call to protect them for generations to come.

Learn more about Collecting Ansel Adams Photography

About This Image

Towering over Colorado’s wild Elk Mountain range, the Maroon Bells are some of the Rocky Mountain States’ most striking alpine features. True to their name, the bell-shaped peaks glow a vivid purple in the pre-dawn or pre-dusk light, thanks to the unique sandstone that colors the mountains maroon.

Ansel Adams made this photo in 1951 while traveling to one of the first meetings of the Aspen Institute, a gathering of intellectuals and artists set amidst Colorado’s natural beauty. Amongst the attendees slated to appear at the 1951 gathering were Dorothea Lange, the documentary photographer and photojournalist, Ben Shahn, the social realist painter, and Berenice Abbott, whose iconic photographs of New York City became some of its defining images of the 20th century

Though Ansel took plenty of time to discuss art and photography with his fellow creators—including a conversation that would lead to the founding of Aperture magazine, the nation’s first creative photography journal—he wouldn’t be Ansel if he didn’t sneak away to make a few photographs. Hosting the Institute amidst some of the most geologically fascinating features of the West would have been a siren song impossible to ignore, and Ansel soon found himself in the White River National Forest, ten miles west of Aspen, gazing upon the Maroon Bells.

Though Ansel had traveled throughout Colorado on multiple occasions—including as part of a photography project he undertook in 1941 in conjunction with the Department of the Interior, his previous images had never taken on quite this scale. Ansel’s composition emphasizes the truly massive size of the snow-dusted formation, leaving almost no room for the cloud-dappled sky. His heightened use of contrast highlights the unique striations in the Bells’ soft red shale and paler siltstone, and the snow blown into the crevasses makes them look as though they’d been scraped by some enormous, unseen hand. Though many of Ansel’s landscapes highlight an amazing contrast between water and land, as seen here, he kept the focus primarily on the mountains and the valley, rather than on the reflection in the still water.

Throughout his life, Ansel would photograph Colorado’s Rockies again and again, but would never again attempt a grand landscape like this one, at least not in the region. Perhaps, as he considered the image’s perfect encapsulation of the harshness and serenity of winter in the Rockies, he considered that element of his photographic project complete. Contemplating this photograph, it’s impossible not to be reminded of some of Ansel’s other iconic landscapes — ”Tetons and Snake River,” “Monolith,” or “Clearing Winter Storm.” But as a portrait of the grandeur of some of our nation’s most dramatic wilderness, “Maroon Bells” stands alone.

What’s Included

  • Handmade Gelatin Silver Photograph by Ansel Adams
  • Certificate of Authenticity
  • Purchase Consultation (if desired)
  • Ships mounted and matted, ready to frame
  • Fast Shipping Turnaround
  • Expert Fine Art Packaging
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee (or full refund within 30 days)

Sell Your Original

Do you have an Ansel Adams Original Photograph you would like to sell?

Our Gallery will buy or consign Original Photographs in excellent or pristine condition.

Learn more about selling your Ansel Adams Original.


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