Ansel Adams Print Sells for $609,000

A rare print of Ansel Adams’ photograph, “Moonrise” has been sold for a record $609,600 in an auction at Sotheby’s New York.

The photograph was acquired by a London gallery owner in behalf of a private client Tuesday. The 1948 print was owned by Adams’ friend and former assistant Pirkle Jones, who got it directly from the photography legend.

“Moonrise” is one of Adams’ most famous photographs. He was driving past Hernandez, Mexico late in the day on November 1, 1941 when he took the picture. “Adams managed to set up his camera and grab the image just as the daylight was disappearing,” according to Sotheby’s catalog notes.

“We in the auction world live for moments like this,” Sotheby’s senior VP Chris Mahoney said of the latest “Moonrise” sale. “Adams is due this kind of showing at auction.”

Moonrise in Hernandez

He made only a handful of prints of the negative until 1948, when he reprocessed it to increase the density of the foreground to make it easier to print.

There was another “Moonrise” print in 2002 which sold for $136,000. The previous auction record for any Adams photograph was set earlier this year with a series called “Surf Sequence, San Mateo Coast, California. It sold for $352,000.

[Photo courtesy of The Ansel Adams Gallery]

Published by Chris Malinao

Chris teaches Lightroom as workflow software to photography students at the FPPF, Federation of Philippine Photographers Foundation. He also teaches smartphone photography.