Newly authenticated Ansel Adams cache valued at $200 million

  • July 27, 2010 11:55

  • Email
"Jeffrey Pine on Sentinel Rock" is from a glass plate negative discovered at a garage sale by Rick Norsigian. He believes it is the work of Ansel Adams.

Rick Norsigian, a painter from Fresno, California, bought two boxes containing 65 glass negatives by famed nature photographer Ansel Adams ten years ago. His $45 garage sale find may be worth up to $200 million, says one expert.

"You look at these photographs and they take your breath away," commented Norsigian in a statement. "But it is even more meaningful and rewarding to finally have the leading experts confirm what I believed in my heart when I saw the images for the first time."

David W. Streets, an art dealer who appraised Norsigian's discovery, hosted an unveiling of the photographs at his Beverly Hills, California, gallery on Tuesday.

Historians had long believed these iconic California images of Yosemite, Carmel, and San Francisco, dating from Adams' early career, were destroyed in a devastating 1937 darkroom fire which resulted in the loss of 5,000 negatives.

Taken between 1919 and the early 1930s, the rediscovered images are important for their presentation of the progression of Adams' style and his aesthetic vision.

Notations on the envelopes holding the images appear to be in the handwriting of the photographer's wife, Virginia Adams.

Norsigian says the garage sale owner had told him he bought the boxes from a warehouse salvage in Los Angeles. Photography expert Patrick Alt theorizes that Adams took the images to Pasadena for a photography class he was teaching in the 1940s, and perhaps never reclaimed them from storage.

“In almost all of the photographs, the compositions are virtually flawless, truly being made by a photographer of singular vision and talent,” notes Alt.

The team of experts charged with authenticating the images included Alt and Streets; handwriting experts Michael Nattenberg and Marcel Matley; George Wright, a meteorological expert; Robert Moeller, former Curator of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts; former FBI Agent and Section Chief Thomas Knowles; and former Assistant United States Attorney and Legal/Supreme Court Reporter for ABC News, Manny Medrano.

Norsigian is selling limited editions from the collection as dark room prints (gelatin silver photographs made in a darkroom) for $7,500; digital prints for $1,500; and posters for $45, through his Website,

In June, Sotheby's sold the 1938 photograph "Clearing Winter Storm, Yosemite National Park" from the Polaroid Collection for $722,500 (including buyer's premium), establishing a record price for the Adams.




  • Email

More News Feed Headlines

Ai Weiwei at the Berengo studio in Venice, next to his glass sculpture Blossom Chandelier.  Photo by Karolina Sobel.

U.S. Premiere of 'Glasstress' Showcases The Work of Leading International Artists in Collaboration With Venetian Glass Masters

  • ArtfixDaily / January 26th, 2021

Some of the world's leading contemporary artists have been invited to breathe new life into centuries-old glassmaking ...

Thomas Moran.  A Snowy Mountain Range (Path of Souls, Idaho), 1896.  Oil on canvas, 14 x 27 in.  Denver Art Museum: Roath Collection, 2013.109

'Rethinking the Boundaries of Western American Art' Virtual Program Accompanies 'Creating the American West in Art' Exhibition at The Frist Art Museum

  • ArtfixDaily / January 26th, 2021

The Frist Art Museum presents Creating the American West in Art, an exhibition of nearly 80 paintings and sculptures ...

Reginald Neal (American, 1909 – 1992 ) Eight of a Maze - Blue and White , 1965, Lithograph and Plexiglas construction, 21 1/2 x 29 1/2 in.  Oklahoma City Museum of Art, Museum purchase with funds from the Beaux Arts Society Fund for Acquisitions and the Pauline Morrison Ledbetter Collections Endowment , 2016.061 © Estate of Reginald Neal

'Moving Vision' Exhibition of Op and Kinetic Art To Feature Doctors, Scientists in Virtual Programs

  • ArtfixDaily / January 25th, 2021

A new exhibition opening at Oklahoma City Museum of Art on Feb. 20, “Moving Vision: Op and Kinetic Art from the ...

"All Is Possible" sterling silver cuff with star.  From the collection of Suijin Li Snyder.  Photo by Jason Dowdle.

Take A Virtual Tour Of 'All Is Possible,' First Retrospective of Pioneering Jewelry Designer Mary Ann Scherr

  • ArtfixDaily / January 25th, 2021

Gregg Museum of Art & Design at North Carolina State University presented All is Possible: Mary Ann Scherr’s ...


ARTFIXdaily Artwire