Sempervirens Fund—the Bay Area land trust dedicated to preserving redwood forests in the Santa Cruz Mountains—is selling a portfolio of 15 works by famed photographer Ansel Adams. Portfolio Four: What Majestic Word, In Memory of Russell Varian is appraised at more than $100,000 and contains hand-written notes from Adams.
Proceeds from the sale will help fund the Robert C. Kirkwood Entrance, a state-of-the-art portal to Castle Rock State Park that includes a 90-car parking lot with environmentally sensitive permeable paving, electric car charging stations, six restrooms with flush toilets, a drinking water station, a 60-seat amphitheater, a native plants garden, accessible pathways and picnic areas, Wi-Fi connectivity, and a downloadable app with trail maps. Work on the entrance is nearly complete; it will open later this year.
Copies of the portfolio were featured alongside several camera-less photos by fine art photographer Robert Buelteman at Art Ventures Gallery in Menlo Park March 28 to 31. Described as “a bizarre union of Dr. Frankenstein and Georgia O’Keeffe,” Buelteman uses high-frequency, high-voltage electricity and different light sources to capture the beauty and energy of plants onto film. Work by the two artists had never been shown together.
Both Adams and Buelteman have unique histories with the land trust. Adams served on an early Sempervirens Fund advisory committee. He created the portfolio as both a memorial to Silicon Valley entrepreneur Russell Varian and to help raise funds to fulfill Varian’s dream of protecting the land that is now Castle Rock State Park. A longtime volunteer and supporter of Sempervirens Fund, Buelteman served as a Sempervirens Fund board member from 2010–2012 and has photographed several properties the land trust owns. These are represented in his portfolio, Californiana.
“Dorothy Varian worked with Sempervirens Fund to establish Castle Rock State Park in 1968, and gifted Portfolio Four to us specifically to help care for the future of the land.” said Sempervirens Fund Executive Director Sara Barth. “This sale helps us establish a lasting monument to showcase the park and point visitors toward other protected Sempervirens Fund lands in the Santa Cruz Mountains.”
Fine art auction house Christie’s is holding an online sale of the portfolio Tuesday, April 2 from their New York, N.Y. location.