A huge story last year was when a painter named Rick Norsigian came across 65 glass negatives at a garage sale, purchasing them for $45. He then had them examined by experts, who told him that they were previously undiscovered Ansel Adams photographs worth at least $200 million. Just as the find was being heralded as one of the greatest in art history, Ansel Adams’ relatives and Publishing Rights Trust expressed skepticism that they were in fact Adams’. It then came to light that the photos might actually belong to a man named Earl Brooks who once lived in the same city as Norsigian (Fresno, California).
The mystery of the Ansel Adams garage sale negatives keeps taking on new twists, but the latest twist might have solved it once and for all.
KTVU in Oakland is reporting that a Bay Area woman named Mariam l. Walton has come forward with apparently solid proof that the photographs were not taken by Ansel Adams but her Uncle Earl. She was watching KTVU report on the story Tuesday when she suddenly saw a photograph of the Jeffrey Pine on Sentinal Dome and recognized it as a print her uncle Earl Brooks made back in 1923.
We reported yesterday that a set of glass plate negatives purchased for $45 in 2000 were verified by a group of experts as being created by Ansel Adams and worth upwards of $200 million.
In response to the article published by CNN yesterday, Ansel’s grandson Matthew Adams published a lengthy response on the Ansel Adams Gallery Blog.
Rick Norsigian, a painter based in Fresno, California, was browsing through a garage sale in 2000 when he came across two small boxes with 65 glass plate negatives. He was able to purchase the photographs for $45 after bargaining them down from $70. Now it turns out he made one of the biggest finds in photographic history.
Experts are now saying that the negatives were created by Ansel Adams between 1919 and the 1930’s — before Adams became famous — and that the photographs could be worth at least $200 million.
The previous owner purchased the plates at a warehouse salvage in Los Angeles prior to selling them to Norsigian.
TIME reports that although experts have concluded that the photos are indeed by Adams, some remain skeptical. Matthew Adams, the grandson of Ansel Adams, is reported as saying,
Mr. Norsigian has been claiming these negatives were made by Ansel Adams for many years. I am unaware of anyone knowledgeable agreeing with him.
Next time you’re at a garage sale or warehouse salvage, give those old looking negatives an extra hard look. You never know what you might find.
Image credit: Garage Sale by Ben Saren