NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. -- A small New York college has been given a rare collection of 75 signed Ansel Adams photographs, chosen and printed by the artist himself.
The College of New Rochelle said Tuesday its new acquisition includes the famous "Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico" as well as several well-known scenes of Yosemite National Park and photographs of artist Georgia O’Keeffe and photographer Alfred Stieglitz.
No more than 10 such sets, including one held by each of Adams’ two children, exist, according to Richard Gadd, director of the Weston Gallery in Carmel, Calif., which helped Adams show and market the images.
The gift, worth $2.5 million, is from Caryl Horwitz, former director of the college’s graduate art department. Her late husband acquired the collection in the 1980s.
The photographs make up what is known as Adams’ Museum Set Edition of Fine Prints, a selection he made beginning in the late 1970s. Adams did the printing himself.
"He printed, mounted and signed them," Gadd said, adding that most buyers bought sets with fewer than the full 75 images.
In March, when the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles acquired 25 of the 75 prints, senior curator Judith Keller said, "The Museum Set is significant in several ways, the first being that it helps us understand how Adams evaluated his work, and how he wanted future generations to view it." Adams died in 1984.
The gift was made in honor of the late Sister Dorothy Ann Kelly, who was president of the college during Horwitz’s time there.
Current President Judith Huntington called the donation "a profound compliment" to the 109-year-old school, which has a picturesque campus in New Rochelle and five outposts in New York City. The College of New Rochelle was the first Catholic college for women in New York. Its School of Arts and Sciences is still women-only.
Huntington said the college has not decided how or where to display the photographs -- there are security and climate-control issues to resolve -- but will try to make the collection available to as many people as possible.
Fifteen of the signed images will be displayed at the college’s Castle Gallery for a celebration on Thursday night.
The college said that when Horwitz’s husband, Martin Horwitz, a business executive and art collector, bought the photographs, he agreed the collection would one day be donated to a museum or school.