The Couple That Loves Ansel Adams Together Stays Together, Right? We Sure Hope So.
Ansel Adams, ""Mt. Williamson, Sierra Nevada, from Manzanar, California," 1944
Last week, I was going to tell you how you could acquire a well-known Ansel Adams print, but then something strange happened: The print was suddenly no longer for sale, and the circumstances surrounding the incident were too interesting not to share.
Back in May, Ben Bread, owner and director of Afterimage Gallery, sent word that "Mt. Williamson, Sierra Nevada, from Manzanar, California," a print of a 1944 Adams photo, was on sale at the gallery for $25,000, a price that Beard said was "$10,000 less than what it normally goes for." He also said the print, taken in the infamous town that was home to a World War II prison camp for Japanese Americans, had been purchased at Adams' Yosemite store in 1974.
I didn't really didn't make much of it because, hey, I don't have that kind of cash laying around, and if I did I'd be making student loan payments, not buying art. Side note to my student loan officer, this month's check is in the mail. But then last Tuesday Beard sent an email that said the priced had been lowered, so I thought the owner must be trying to move it quick. Read it for yourself, folks:
I have mentioned this Ansel Adams print before. The owner bought it in 1974 directly from the Adams family. (Most experts believe this is the period when Adams produced his finest prints.) The title is Mount Williamson, Sierra Nevada, from Manzanar, California, 1944, and it is in superb condition, on 16 x 20 paper. He has reduced the price since the first time I mentioned it, and we are now selling it for $22,000. The price is incredible for this piece, and it's below what it usually brings at auction. I would appraise it at $35,000. It's one of Adams' best known photographs, a really strong image. This print is not on the website. Speaking of the website, be sure to look at our current show of Elliott McDowell's amazing prints (like the Adams, they are also well priced, many in the low hundreds).
On Thursday I did a little Google-surfing and found a print of "Mt. Williamson, Sierra Nevada, from Manzanar, California" with similar dimensions that sold at a Christie's auction in 2001, Photographs from the 20th Century, for $14,100. Curious to see if Afterimage still had the Adams print for sale, I contacted Beard last Thursday and asked if it was still available and if he could share the provenance with us. I also told him I was working on a blog item about the print (thought maybe one of you wealthy readers would want the piece), and a few minutes later, he responded with this email:
Thank you very much for your offer. Unfortunately it's been withdrawn from sale. The guy hadn't informed his wife that he was selling it, and she put the nix on it. Not wanting to cause any marital strife, I took it off the market! Oh well!
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Yikes. Bet that guy bought his wife another expensive piece of art or a new pair of boobs to make up for that mistake. Here's my question: How did the wife not notice the print was gone for at least a month? I mean, unless you're under the influence of heavy medications or too rich to keep of your art because you've got too much of it, wouldn't you notice if your Ansel Adams print wasn't hanging in the foyer any longer?
Do you think the husband had second thoughts about selling the print and pulled it off the market or is it plausible the couple has that much money? Would you kick your husband's ass if he tried to sell of your valuables? Share your speculations in the comment section below.
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