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Monolith, the Face of Half Dome

Along The John Muir Trail - Ansel Adams Originals

Currently on Exhibition at The Ansel Adams Gallery

Negative: 1927
Print: 1959
Signed "Ansel Adams"
Image Size 11 x 8" 
Condition: Excellent

$26,900.00

Overview

For more information about this or other Ansel Adams Original Photographs call 888-238-9244 or email originals@anseladams.com

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 118-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 originals@anseladams.com.

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

On the chilly spring morning of April 10th, 1927, Ansel Adams set out along Yosemite’s LeConte Gully to capture an image of the striking sheer face of Half Dome, one of Yosemite National Park’s most iconic natural features. Though Ansel knew their route well, having spent four teenage summers as the keeper of the Sierra Club’s nearby lodge in Yosemite Valley, his companions—his fiancée Virginia Best and three close friends, including his lifetime friend and fellow wilderness photographer Cedric Wright—picked carefully along the steep gully in the icy shadow of nearby Grizzly Peak.

Story Behind the Image

This was not Ansel’s first journey to photograph Half Dome. In fact, nearly a decade earlier, a 14-year-old Ansel had visited this very spot on a family trip to Yosemite. Eager to experiment with his brand-new Kodak Brownie camera, young Ansel snapped several pictures of Half Dome, including one upside-down image, his favorite, taken accidentally as he fell off a stump.

As the 25 year-old Ansel hiked, he was in the midst of personal and professional upheaval. An accomplished pianist with a passion for photography, Ansel had only recently realized that his photographic skills dwarfed his musical ones, forcing him to abandon his dream of professional musicianship. His life’s work lay ahead of him, farther up the trail.

When the group reached the Diving Board, a steep outcropping more than 3,500 feet above Yosemite Valley, Ansel knew this was the perfect vista from which to capture Half Dome’s sheer face. The photograph he made, “Monolith, the Face of Half Dome,” shows the mountain rising from an ink-black sky, its face illuminated by a dazzling midday sun just out of frame. Though Ansel initially made an exposure using a yellow filter, he immediately swapped that for a dark red filter, which darkened the sky and produced the deep shadows and bright light we recognize in the final image. It was a startling expression of emotion and drama from the young photographer, and its technical excellence and artistic mastery would soon launch Adams’ career as one of the finest commercial and fine-art photographers of the 20th century.

Today, the image stands as not only one of Adams’ finest works, but as a lasting and iconic depiction of one of the most unique spots in the American wilderness.

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

     

    The John Muir Trail

    The book, Sierra Nevada: The John Muir Trail by Ansel Adams was originally published in 1938 and limited to only 500 copies. With a remarkable collection of 50 stunning views of the Sierra, one can consider this a masterpiece filled with photographs from Ansel Adams' legendary career.

    The Sierra Nevada as well as the John Muir Trail played an integral role in shaping the career of Ansel Adams. To showcase this magnificent book and its photographs, The Ansel Adams Gallery welcomes you to explore The John Muir Trail map, view the book, and read articles about the John Muir Trail, Wilderness Act, and more.   

    Explore The John Muir Map
    View Original Photographs along the trail
    View Ansel Adams Exclusive Reproductions along the trail
    Learn more about the book; Sierra Nevada: The John Muir Trail
    Read Articles

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