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1930s/'40s Ansel Adams, SFAI


It is likely that Ansel Adams first became acquainted with the school at some point in the 1920s after he became friends with the art patron Albert Bender.  Bender had supported Ansel’s first portfolio of photographs--Parmelian Prints of the High Sierras, 1927 (Ansel would later cringe at the extra “s” on the already plural Sierra). In 1934 the School Committee suggested a course in photography with Adams as the instructor as they considered the camera “a working tool in the hands of artists,” but the course never happened. For the 1940/1941 college catalog Ansel did a set of photographs of the library, the cafe, and students working in the studios as well as this winter sky above the new Bay Bridge. In December 1944 Adams repeated his set of 6 lectures at the Chestnut Street campus that he had given earlier in the year at the NY Museum of Modern Art. And the following year he established the school’s Photography Department with the support from Board President, Ted Spencer, and School Director, Douglas MacAgy.


With permission, SFAA is re-posting the emails Jeff Gunderson Librarian/Archivist Anne Bremer Memorial Library has been sending out since March 2020. Please enjoy this magnificent archive.

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SF Artists Alumni Inc., San Francisco, CA 94131