Daily Art Moment: Marian Wood Kolisch

Ansel Adams, Marian Wood Kolisch. A photograph of Ansel Adams posing as two individuals take photographs of him in front of an enormous tree trunk. This portrait-oriented photo shows the figure of Ansel Adams standing at lower right and two photographers positioned at lower left and lower center. The photo is dominated by the huge trunk of a tree that dwarfs the figures. It sweeps from lower left across the photo and upwards to the upper right, displaying craggy, highly textured bark. At left in the background, evergreen trees in a forest setting are seen. Adams, an older white man with glasses and a white beard, stands at the base of the tree wearing a cowboy hat, light colored jacket and shirt with dark trousers and boots. He stands with his right hand in pocket and his other hand resting on his left knee. He has a camera on a strap around his neck and holds another in his left hand. At right, we see two photographers; the one at far left has short dark hair and a beard wearing a long sleeved top and pants. The figure is adjusting a camera on a tripod. At lower center, another photographer is seen from the back wearing a jean jacket and jeans, seemingly bent over a camera and tripod.

Education was a central component of Ansel Adams’s photographic practice. He established the fine art photography program at the San Francisco Art Institute in 1946, the first of its kind in the country. Six years prior, in 1940, he started teaching photography workshops. These group educational experiences, often held in Yosemite National Park, became yearly events by 1955.

Oregon photographer Marian Wood Kolisch first attended a workshop with Adams in Yosemite in 1974. She created these photographs in the 1980s. Her images suggest that the artist himself was a popular subject for attendees, even though his workshops focused on the landscape. Today Kolisch is recognized for her exceptional photographic portraits of West Coast artists, many of which are part of the Museum’s permanent collection and can be viewed in our online collections.

Julia Dolan, The Minor White Curator of Photography

Ansel Adams, Marian Wood Kolisch, gelatin silver print, image/sheet: 11 3/8 x 10 1/16 inches. A black and white portrait of Ansel Adams, an older white man with a gray beard, wearing glasses and a broad brimmed hat. The photo shows the head and shoulders of Adams, looking slightly to the right. He wears dark, square framed glasses. His face is lined and his nose somewhat crooked. He wears a white beard and a slight smile with lips parted. A cowboy hat sits pushed back on his head creating a shadow near the crown of his head. His light-colored, collarless jacket is just visible. He is posed in front of the textured bark of a tree.

Marian Wood Kolisch (American, 1920–2008), Ansel Adams, both 1983. Gelatin silver prints, Bequest of Marian Wood Kolisch, 2009.30.62; Gift of the artist, 85.77

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