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New Photo of Blues Legend Robert Johnson Surfaces … Maybe

Russell Hall
|
10.17.2008

Robert JohnsonIt may be one of the greatest finds in Delta blues history. Seventy years have passed since Robert Johnson died in 1938, and thus far only two photos of the legendary artist have surfaced. Until now. Maybe. As detailed in a just-published article in the November issue of Vanity Fair, a guitar connoisseur named Zeke Schein may well have uncovered a third photograph of Johnson.

In an instance of remarkable serendipity, Schein discovered the photo on eBay in June 2005, after typing the phrase “old guitar” into the auction site’s search engine. His winning bid of $2,200 earned him the sepia-toned snapshot, which had been incorrectly described by the seller as a photo of B.B. King.

The 9,000-word Vanity Fair article traces Schein’s subsequent efforts to authenticate the photograph, which, to many experts, appears to be genuine. And yes, the article does include a full-page reproduction of the snapshot in question. To read the full story, click here. ?Russell Hall

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