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July 01, 2021

Acquisition: Robert Adams

Robert Adams, "Longmont, Colorado, Sally in the Backyard", 1981

Robert Adams
Longmont, Colorado, Sally in the Backyard, 1981
gelatin silver print
image: 15 x 15 cm (5 7/8 x 5 7/8 in.)
sheet: 35.4 x 27.7 cm (13 15/16 x 10 7/8 in.)
National Gallery of Art, Washington
Gift of Jeffrey Fraenkel and Alan Mark

Over the last few decades, Robert Adams (b. 1937) has published several small and intensely personal books of photographs that focus on the quieter moments of daily existence that can bring joy and meaning to our lives. A full set of gelatin silver prints from I Hear the Leaves and Love the Light (published 1999) among the first of these books, has recently been given to the National Gallery of Art by Jeffrey Fraenkel and Alan Mark. The series comprises 33 photographs made between 1982 and 1992 of Sally, a West Highland terrier, and the simple pleasures that she and her human companions—Robert and Kerstin Adams—found in the sanctuary of their backyard. Emphasizing their mutual joy, the pictures alternate between depicting the photographer's point of view and Sally's, producing results that are simultaneously amusing, insightful, specific, and universal. It is the second complete series of prints from a book by Adams to be given to the National Gallery, alongside Tenancy (published 2017), a recent gift from Stephen G. Stein.

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