Worlds Most Expensive Photographs
What makes some photos worth more than others? Age, certainly. Celebrity, probably. Composition, definitely. Fashion, yes that too.
Personal appeal should really be the only thing you go by just like any art from if you don’t get it, don’t get it. That being said opinions differ on what makes a great work of art but there is just something about curtain works that allow them to stand out from the base of others. Usually with artwork/paintings these are unique but with photographs what’s to stop the owner of the photograph from printing more. Other than potentially devaluing their holding, nothing. What would you guess the highest price paid at auction was? $100,000 $1,000,000? Nope not even close.
Rank Artist Work Price Date Seller/Auction
1 Andreas Gursky Rhein II (1999) $4,338,500 November 8, 2011 Christie’s New York.
2 Cindy Sherman Untitled #96 (1981) $3,890,500 May 2011 Christie’s New York. A seventh print of Untitled #96 sold for $2.88 million at Christie’s in May 2012.
3 Jeff Wall Dead Troops Talk (A vision after an ambush of a Red Army patrol, near Moqor, Afghanistan, winter 1986) (1992) $3,666,500 May 8, 2012 Christie’s New York.
4 Andreas Gursky 99 Cent II Diptychon (2001) $3,346,456 February 2007 Sotheby’s London auction. A second print of 99 Cent II Diptychon sold for $2.48 million in November 2006 at a New York gallery, and a third print sold for $2.25 million at Sotheby’s in May 2006 making this the most expensive photograph taken totalling $8,076,456
5 Edward Steichen The Pond-Moonlight (1904) $2,928,000 February 2006 Sotheby’s New York auction.
6 Cindy Sherman Untitled #153 (1985) $2,700,000 November 2010 Phillips de Pury & Co. New York.
7 unknown Billy the Kid (1879–80) tintype portrait $2,300,000 June 2011 Brian Lebel’s Old West Show & Auction.
8 Dmitry Medvedev Tobolsk Kremlin (2009) $1,750,000 January 2010 Christmas Yarmarka, Saint Petersburg.
9 Edward Weston Nude (1925) $1,609,000 April 2008 Sotheby’s New York auction.
10 Alfred Stieglitz Georgia O’Keeffe (Hands) (1919) $1,470,000 February 2006 Sotheby’s New York auction.
11 Alfred Stieglitz Georgia O’Keeffe Nude (1919) $1,360,000 February 2006 Sotheby’s New York auction.
12 Richard Prince Untitled (Cowboy) (1989) $1,248,000 November 2005 Christie’s New York auction.
13 Richard Avedon Dovima with elephants (1955) $1,151,976 November 2010 Christie’s Paris auction.
14 Edward Weston Nautilus (1927) $1,082,500 April 2010 Sotheby’s New York auction.
15 Peter Lik One (2010) $1,000,000 December 2010 Anonymous collector
This purported sale was a private sale and not verifiable. All other sales on this list are public auction records.
16 Jeff Wall Untangling (1994) $1,000,000 AUD 2006
17 Eugène Atget Joueur d’Orgue (1898–1899) $686,500 April 2010 Christie’s New York auction.
18 Robert Mapplethorpe Andy Warhol (1987) $643,200 October 17, 2006 Christie’s New York auction.
19 Ansel Adams Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico (1948) $609,600 October 2006 Sotheby’s New York auction.
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Kim is a professional photographer & Official Fujifilm X-Photographer living in Celbridge Co Kildare, Ireland. When not shooting Portraits and Weddings or Corporate & Editorials he can be found searching out the best coffee shops or running round after his two kids.