Thursday, January 19, 2017

Top Ten Most Expensive Photographs- Is Photography Art?

Rhein II
I do not intend to infringe on the copyright of this photo. I will remove this photo upon request from the owner of the original photograph.

I just finished reading two interesting articles on the debate/discussion whether photography is an art form or not. ( and (

One of the arguments in favor of photographs as an art form is the fact that people buy photographs as well as paintings and sculptures. According to Wikipedia, the following is the top 10 highest prices paid for photographs (in US dollars unless otherwise stated). All prices include the Buyer's Premium, which is the auction house fee for handling the work.

The list include the rank, the name of the artist, the price paid and the date sold as well as the place of the Seller/Auction House.

1. Andreas Gursky, Rhein II (1999), $4,338,500, November 8, 2011, Christie's New York( see photo above)

2. Richard Prince, Spiritual America (1981), $3,973,000, May 12, 2014, Christie's New York

3. Cindy Sherman, Untitled #96 (1981), $3,890,500, May 2011, Christie's New York

4. Gilbert & George, For Her Majesty (1973), $3,765,276, June 30, 2008, Christie's London

5. 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

6. Andreas Gursky, 99 Cent II Diptychon (2001), $3,346,456, February 2007, Sotheby's London auction

7. Andreas Gursky, Chicago Board of Trade III (1999-2000), $3,298,755, June 26, 2013, Sotheby’s London

8. Richard Prince, Untitled (Cowboy) (2000), $3,077,000, May 14, 2014, Sotheby’s New York

9. Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film Still #48 (1979), $2,965,000, May 13, 2015, Christie’s New York

10. Edward Steichen, The Pond—Moonlight (1904), $2,928,000, February 2006, Sotheby's New York


The new #1 now belongs to Peter Lik whose photograph entitled “Phantom”, was sold in December 2014 to a private collector for a mind boggling $6.5 million.(see link above). It easily surpassed the previous record held by Andreas Gursky’s “Rhein II”, which sold for $4.3 million back in 2011.


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