Gallery Owner with Forged Ansel Adams Photographs Arrested in Michigan


Whatever is done in the darkness will certainly come into the light eventually.

grayscale photography of plunge waterfall at daytime
Grayscale photograph of plunge waterfall at daytime. Photo by Kyle Ryan

And when you’re hocking fake Ansel Adams works, it’s only a matter of time.

A gallery owner in Michigan faces those exact charges according to the Detroit News which reports the gallery owner, Wendy Halsted Beard of Wendy Halsted Gallery in Birmingham, and is accused of mail and wire fraud because of a scheme to defraud buyers with fake merchandise.

The website reports that in some cases the gallery sold photographs and never paid out the money and, in what can only be termed a comically inept example, actually tried to pass off Ansel Adams posters sold in the Ansel Adams gift shop as authentic, signed prints. Making matters even more bafflingly worse, the posters were sent to families that owned actual prints who wanted them returned when they were told they “didn’t sell.”

Two victims cited, who did have actual, authentic works to be sold, were elderly with one having Alzheimer’s’ disease, the case documents state.

What makes this story even more tragic is that multiple reports indicate that the gallery had a positive reputation prior to this. Founded by Thomas Halsted in 1969, the former gallery owner reportedly had relationships with many famous photographers including Ansel Adams. Thomas Halsted died in 2018 before the events alleged transpired, reports indicate.

Wendy Halsted Beard was arrested by the FBI and released on a $USD 10,000 bond. If convicted, she faces up to 20 years in federal prison. Fraud, it never pays, as we have recounted here too many times.

Of course, any thoughts you might have on the case of the forged Ansel Adams photographs would be appreciated in the comments below.

Check out some of our other photography news on Light Stalking at this link right here.

[The Detroit News]

About Author

Kehl is our staff photography news writer since 2017 and has over a decade of experience in online media and publishing and you can get to know him better here and follow him on Insta.

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