VMFA Presents Ansel Adams: Compositions in Nature

By Editorial Team on September 20, 2021
Ansel Adams (American, 1902–1984), Mount Williamson, The Sierra Nevada, from Manzanar, California, 1944, printed 1973–75, gelatin silver print. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Adolph D. and Wilkins C. Williams Fund. Photograph by Ansel Adams © The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust.
On view: September 25-January 2, 2022

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) is delighted to announce its newest exhibition, Ansel Adams: Compositions in Nature. The exhibition, which features an iconic collection of more than 70 works by American photographer Ansel Adams (1902-1984), will be on view at the Richmond museum from September 25, 2021, through January 2, 2022. Adam’s photography, as well as his lifelong interests in the environment and classical music, will be explored, allowing visitors to gain a full appreciation of the artist through special areas of the exhibition that will include Adams’ own musical recordings.

“Through this exhibition, VMFA celebrates Ansel Adams’ photographs which so dramatically capture the sublimity of the American landscape,” said Alex Nyerges, VMFA Director and CEO. “In a career that spanned more than five decades, Adams became one of America’s most recognized and influential landscape photographers and one of its more respected environmentalists. His works continue to inspire us to take a deeper, even meditative, look at our extraordinary natural surroundings and appreciate the profound beauty around us.”

Adams’ works reveal the importance he placed on the sensational splendor of natural environments that might have been overlooked by the ordinary passerby. His use of light and shadow create photographs that abound with visual details, textures and patterns and evoke an emotional response and a greater appreciation of nature from viewers. Adams’ photography also supported his lifelong involvement as an environmental activist and his black-and-white prints became his greatest influence on environmental protections and conservation efforts. His photographs continue to resonate with viewers today.

Many of the photographs featured in the exhibition were selected by Adams to represent his life’s work. VMFA will complement the artist’s selections with works from the museum’s own permanent collection. Comprised of some of Adams’ most beloved images and never-before published photographs, these additions will provide a comprehensive survey of the artist’s career, demonstrating changes in aesthetics and technique, as well as his keen eye for visual composition and fascination with the natural environment.

With the proliferation of photography in contemporary life, it may be difficult to imagine a time when taking a photograph was a visionary, planned and deliberate act. Adams was a pioneer and his work elevated the medium. “There are few artists whose name and works represent the extraordinary level of universal recognition and artistic achievement as that of Ansel Adams,” said Dr. Christopher C. Oliver, VMFA’s Assistant Curator of American Art. “Adams influenced the course of 20th-century photography not only through his striking, technically precise images but also through his devotion to advancing the cause of photography as an art form.”

More information about Ansel Adams: Compositions in Nature can be found at www.VMFA.museum.

Ticket Information

Tickets for the exhibition Ansel Adams: Compositions in Nature are now on sale: $10 for adults; $8 for seniors 65+, youth 7-17 and college students with ID. The exhibition is free for VMFA members, children ages 6 and under, and active-duty military personnel and their immediate families.

About the Sponsors

Organized by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Ansel Adams: Compositions in Nature is sponsored by the Elisabeth Shelton Gottwald Fund, Birch Douglass, Mr. and Mrs. R. Augustus Edwards III, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas F. Garner, Jr., Dr. and Mrs. William V. Garner, The Francena T. Harrison Foundation, Brian and Mary Ann Peppiatt, Patricia R. St. Clair, Tina and Lewis Stoneburner, Kelly and Tiff Armstrong, Mr. and Mrs. Wayne A. Chasen, Mrs. Page Edgerton, Margaret R. Freeman, Mrs. Carter D. McDowell,  Mrs. Patsy K. Pettus, and the VMFA Council Exhibition Fund. Marketing support for this exhibition is provided by the Charles G. Thalhimer Fund.

About the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, Virginia, is one of the largest comprehensive art museums in the United States. VMFA, which opened in 1936, is a state agency and privately endowed educational institution. Its purpose is to collect, preserve, exhibit, and interpret art, and to encourage the study of the arts. Through the Office of Statewide Partnerships program, the museum offers curated exhibitions, arts-related audiovisual programs, symposia, lectures, conferences and workshops by visual and performing artists. In addition to presenting a wide array of special exhibitions, the museum provides visitors with the opportunity to experience a global collection of art that spans more than 6,000 years. VMFA’s permanent holdings encompass nearly 50,000 artworks, including the largest public collection of Fabergé outside of Russia, the finest collection of Art Nouveau outside of Paris, and one of the nation’s finest collections of American art. VMFA is also home to important collections of Chinese art, English silver, French Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, British sporting, and modern and contemporary art, as well as renowned South Asian, Himalayan, and African art. In May 2010 VMFA opened its doors to the public after a transformative expansion, the largest in its history.

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is the only art museum in the United States open 365 days a year with free general admission. For additional information, telephone 804.340.1400 or visit www.VMFA.museum.

VMFA is located at 200 N. Arthur Ashe Blvd., Richmond, VA.