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Ansel Adams prints found at garage sale

adamsCalifornian antique enthusiast Rick Norsigian knew that he wanted when he started sifting through an old garage in Fresno in 2000.  He was in search of an old vintage barber’s chair to add to his already unique collection of petrol pumps, telephone switchboards, and aeroplanes propellers. He had been searching for some time, scrap booking images of chairs that he had seen in magazines, into an old photo album. Old green and red leathers, chrome finishings and old pedals of true vintage workmanship. While the chair turned out to be a waste of time, Norsigian stumbled onto something else that changed his life and pocketbook when he found two antique glass negatives that according to an art appraiser from Beverly Hills were created by Ansel Adams.

In order to get the lot, Norsigian a painter and construction worker, bargained the lot down to a $45 value, however according to the appraiser his find may be worth over £129m.

Arnold Peter, his attorney, stated that a team of experts took a close look at the negatives and decided that there were 65 negatives that were from Adam’s early work taken between the time period of 1919 and the 1930s and were negatives that were rescued from a home fire in 1937.  Adams was said to be heartbroken after the fire occurred as it destroyed about a third of his photos.

Adams’ is known for his portraits of the American West in black and white photos that are now easily recognizable from many posters and US greeting cards.  His work helped place photography on the same pedestal as music and painting and also helped to drive the US national park movement.

Peter said that there is no direct authority that can determine the authenticity of photos so they decided to look at all the evidence they could from a scientific viewpoint and everything they have found proves the negatives are indeed those of Ansel Adams.


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