Ansel Adams portfolio crown jewel of Clars auction Jan. 21

Ansel Adams

One of 15 gelatin silver prints in the portfolio by Ansel Adams (American, 1902-1984) titled ‘Portfolio Four: What Majestic Word, In Memory of Russell Varian,’ published by the Sierra Club of San Francisco in 1963. Estimate of $50,000-$70,000. Clars Auction Gallery image

OAKLAND, Calif. – Each January, Clars Auction Gallery kicks off the year by presenting a special Important Photography Auction and this year the offerings are exceptional, featuring numerous works by the most sought-after and collectible artists of this medium. The highlight of this sale Jan. 21 will be a rare and important photographic portfolio by Ansel Adams, plus works by Imogen Cunningham and Edward Weston from a major San Francisco estate. Absentee and Internet bidding is available through LiveAuctioneers.

In the spotlight will be on the rare portfolio of 15 gelatin silver prints by Ansel Adams (American, 1902-1984), titled Portfolio Four: What Majestic Word, In Memory of Russell Varian (above). Published by the Sierra Club of San Francisco in 1963, this lot will be offered with an estimate of $50,000-$70,000. Russell Varian (1898-1959) and his brother were founders of one of the earliest high-tech companies in Silicon Valley, Varian Associates. Russell was a lifelong supporter of the Sierra Club and loved the outdoors. This portfolio, which Adams and Varian had begun just before Varian’s death in 1959, became a memorial project and was successfully completed four years later as an “expression of Russell Varian’s appreciation of mountains and wilderness as interpreted by photographs by Ansel Adams.” Each dramatic photograph depicts scenes from Northern California, in particular Adam’s favorite locale, Yosemite, as well as Alaska.

Another spectacular gelatin silver print by Adams that will be featured is Vertical Aspens (1958), which will be offered with an estimate of $20,000-$40,000. Taken in 1958, Adams was driving through the mountains when he came across a wooded area of bright Aspens in contrast to their darker surroundings. This work is indeed an exceptional example from this artist’s talented eye.

Brilliant works from two other California photographers to be featured include Imogen Cunningham’s (American, 1883-1976), Magnolia Blossom (Tower of Jewels), 1925  (below). This work is estimated at $12,000-18,000.

Ansel Adams

Imogen Cunningham’s photograph titled ‘Magnolia Blossom (Tower of Jewels),’ 1925, is estimated at $12,000-$18,000. Clars Auction Gallery image

Edward Weston’s (American, 1886-1958), Juniper, Sierra Nevada, 1937 (below), will be offered for $8,000-12,000.

Ansel Adams

From Edward Weston (American, 1886-1958), will be ‘Juniper, Sierra Nevada, 1937,’ estimated at $8,000-$12,000. Clars Auction Gallery image

The photography lots are included in Clars Auction Gallery’s monthly auction of Fine Art, Decorative Art, Furniture, Jewelry/Timepieces and Asian Art.

Highlights in the decorative arts and furnishings category start with an exceptional selection of art glass. Topping this selection will be an Emile Gallé Marine wheel cut and fire polished vase (below), circa 1900, which is expected to bring $7,000 -$10,000 .

Ansel Adams

This Marine wheel-cut and fire-polished vase by Emile Gallé, circa 1900, is expected to bring $7,000 -$10,000. Clars Auction Gallery image

A monumental signed and catalogued Venini No.1474 Soffiati Filigrana vase will also be offered  as will a Daum Nancy blue cameo glass Swan vase. From Tiffany Studios New York will be a bronze clad pottery vase estimated at $4,000-$6,000.

Guitar collectors will be interested in a collection of guitars to be offered during both the Saturday and Sunday sessions. Highlighting this collection is a Gibson ES-150 “Sunburst” electric archtop guitar. Fashionistas will want to take note of a Hermes red togo leather Birkin 35 bag that will be offered.

An Ebel Perpetual Calendar Chronograph 18k yellow gold wristwatch (below) to be offered with an estimate of $6,000-$9,000.


Ansel Adams

Ebel Perpetual Calendar Chronograph 18K yellow gold wristwatch. Estimate: $6,000-$9,000. Clars Auction Gallery image

In fine jewelry, two Cartier pieces will be the highlight. The first is a lapis lazuli, diamond and 18k yellow gold ladybug pin followed by an amethyst, turquoise and diamond 18K yellow gold bird brooch.

The Asian offerings will be highlighted by a selection of thangkas including a Himalayan painted thangka featuring Amitayus and hands in dhyana mudra holding an elixir vessel. Also featured is a Chinese overlay spinach jade table screen featuring a bird above a flowering tree that is executed in various colored stone overlays on a spinach jade plaque.