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Negatives verified as Ansel Adams' work

July 27, 2010 8:01:39 PM PDT
A Fresno man may have made a very rich art discovery. Apparently, Rick Norsigian has some rare photos by the legendary Ansel Adams.

Norsigian found the 65 glass negatives at a garage sale 10 years ago. The seller wanted $70, but Norsigian got them for $45.

The more he researched, the more he realized they could be Ansel Adams.

He had been keeping them under his pool table.

"I had a pretty good suspicion they potentially were valuable; I didn't want them there so I got a bank vault and locked them in there," Norsigian said.

His attorney Arnold Peter says five experts spent six months authenticating the negatives.

They brought in two handwriting experts to look at the envelopes holding the negatives.

"They both confirmed that handwriting belonged to Virginia Adams, Ansel Adams' wife," Norsigian said.

Scott Nichols, San Francisco gallery owner who specializes in Adams' work is not certain.

"The composition looks slightly different to me; they don't look as tight, as sharp," he said.

Nichols says Norsigian didn't contact known experts in Adams' work to verify them.

"They might be real, but they haven't been authenticated yet," he said.

And he says Adams' grandson Matthew of Burlingame hasn't seen them and remains doubtful. Peter says they've contacted him.

Beverly Hills gallery owner David W. Streets puts the value at $200 million.

"This is the lost section showing his evolution as an artist," Streets said.


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