As one of the most legendary California photographers and conservationists, Ansel Adams (1902-1984) captured the rugged Western landscape with intense sharp focus, harmony, and balance, championing black and white photography with a new modernist style. These photographs exhibited and generously donated to the Museum by Virginia Adams in honor of Margaret W. Weston, come from the Museum Set, a project he initiated in his last five years with the help of Maggi Weston and the Weston Gallery in Carmel, California. Together they selected images from the early 1920s through the 1960s in an effort to assess his life’s greatest work and make them available to collectors with the intent that they would be donated to museums for exhibition and education.
Although originally conceived as a master set of 2,500 prints created from seventy-five selected images, this project was not completed before his death in 1984. However incomplete, the sets remain significant as they demonstrate how the artist evaluated and reflected on his iconic career, and encapsulates his enduring legacy as a great American photographer.