|Ansel Adams, The Grand Tetons and the Snake River, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming|
‘A Grand Vision: The David H. Arrington Collection of Ansel Adams Masterworks‘ completed auctioned at Sotheby’s New York on December 14. The collection comprised 123 individual lots, 94% of which were successfully sold to buyers both in person at Sotheby’s New York and online. A mural-sized print, ‘The Grand Tetons and the Snake River, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming’, sold for a record-high for an Ansel Adams print, closing at $988,000 USD.
Ansel Adams photographed the record-setting print in 1942. The image was commissioned by the Department of the Interior. The mural-sized print of Jackson Hole is one of fewer than 10 thought to exist. David H. Arrington acquired it directly from a descendant of Ansel Adams.
|Ansel Adams, The Grand Tetons and the Snake River, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming – Lot 53, sold for $988,000|
David H. Arrington was born and raised in Dallas, Texas and currently serves as President of Arrington Oil & Gas Operating LLC. He became interested in photography as a teenager and began collecting Adams’ work in his twenties. His collection ultimately developed into one of the largest and most comprehensive private collections of Adams’ photography. Pieces from the collection have been part of many exhibits over the years, including in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Art Institute of Chicago, the Hayward Gallery, the Kunstbibliothek in Berlin, and the Museum of Modern Art.
|Ansel Adams, Winter Sunrise, Sierra Nevada, from Lone Pine, California – Lot 107, sold for $403,200|
Arrington said, ‘I remember the first time I saw an image slowly appear in the developing tray in my darkroom. I was 15 years old, mesmerized and thrilled beyond imagination at the possibilities inherent in photography. Now at 60 years old, I still feel the same.’ Many of his Ansel Adams prints were displayed at his company’s headquarters, making it a museum of sorts. He encouraged employees to select favorite prints to hang in their offices.
When the auction closed, the sold lots totaled $6.4 million, the highest total for a sale of photographs at Sotheby’s since 2014. Before the auction, the pre-sale estimate ranged from $4.1 to $6.1 million. Sotheby’s shared additional interesting figures, including that nearly half of lots sold achieved prices above their high estimates, more than 50% of lots were sold online and 35% of buyers were first-time buyers from Sotheby’s.
|Ansel Adams, Half Dome, Merced River, Winter, Yosemite Valley – Lot 38, sold for $685,500|
Emily Bierman, Head of Sotheby’s Photographs Department in New York, said, ‘The spectacular results from [the sale] not only affirmed Ansel Adams as one of the most important artists of the 20th century, but also that his subject matter is as relevant today as when it was created over half a century ago.’ She commented further that the record-setting print garnered a bidding battle involving at least half a dozen bidders.
Bierman continues, ‘The collection put together by David H. Arrington was unprecedented in its scale, scope, and condition, and now proudly takes its place among the most significant collections of photographs to ever come to auction. Handing this collection has been an enormous privilege for our entire team, and, personally, an opportunity I will cherish in my career.’
|Ansel Adams, Yosemite Valley from Inspiration Point, Winter, Yosemite National Park – Lot 48, sold for $163,800|
You can browse all 123 lots by clicking here. From there, you will be able to see the closing price for sold lots and view the pre-sale estimates for each lot. Notably, before the auction, Sotheby’s estimated that Adams’ iconic ‘Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico’ would sell for the highest amount, although it ultimately sold for about $300,000 less than Adams’ image of the Grand Tetons. David H. Arrington’s collection included many other iconic Adams images and it’s well worth it for any photographer fan to peruse and enjoy the images.
Image credits: The above Ansel Adams photographs have been shared with us courtesy of Sotheby’s Auction House