The Secluded San Francisco Chalet of Ansel Adams, Legend of Landscape Photography, Has Hit the Market for $5 Million

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Renowned photographer and environmentalist Ansel Adams’s secluded home in the tony Sea Cliff neighborhood of San Francisco, on the edge of the Presidio, has hit the market for $5.45 million.

Built in 1902 as an Arts and Crafts chalet on what were then remote dunes, the residence grew to its current form in 1929, when a “grand salon” annex was built under the direction of Adams and his wife. The merged home, said Sotheby’s International Realty in the listing, “became the residential seat of America’s most lauded landscape photographer.” That lasted until 1957, when he moved the family farther down the coast to Monterey.

Exterior view of Ansel Adams's former home in San Francisco. Photo: David Duncan Livingston for Sotheby’s International Realty.

Exterior view of Ansel Adams’s former home in San Francisco. Photo: David Duncan Livingston for Sotheby’s International Realty.

The space boasts vaulted 20-foot ceilings, architectural beams, and a wood-burning fireplace. Upstairs are three bedrooms bathed in natural light, with spectacular views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Marin Headlands.

Artist's loft at the top of the home. Photo: David Duncan Livingston for Sotheby’s International Realty.

Artist’s loft at the top of the home. Photo: David Duncan Livingston for Sotheby’s International Realty.

Other perks include an attic-turned-artist’s loft, a front pathway made from repurposed San Francisco City sidewalk curbs, and a terraced garden design by renowned landscape architect Topher Delaney.

Front entrance with stepping stones made from city curbs. Photo: David Duncan Livingston for Sotheby’s International Realty.

Front entrance with stepping stones made from city curbs. Photo: David Duncan Livingston for Sotheby’s International Realty.

Adams came to photography as a teenager in 1915, when his parents gave him a Kodak camera. His first photographs were architectural views of San Francisco and natural environments such as Yosemite Valley. He championed straight photography, allowing the vistas and objects in his images to speak for themselves.

Adams is remembered as a lifelong environmental conservationist and mountaineer whose photographs captured the grandeur of the American landscape. His black-and-white images of majestic outdoor scenes have had an enduring effect on American conservationism and the creation of national parks.

Ansel Adams stands on a bluff above the Pacific Ocean. Photo: Roger Ressmeyer CORBIS VCG via Getty Images.

Ansel Adams stands on a bluff above the Pacific Ocean. Photo: Roger Ressmeyer CORBIS VCG via Getty Images.

In 2020, his best-known work, (1942)—intended to hang in the U.S. Department of the Interior building until World War II canceled those plans—sold at Sotheby’s New York for $988,000 (including fees). The price soared above the high estimate of $600,000, establishing the lasting impact of a great 20th-century American photographer.

 

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