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The 10 most expensive photos in history

De 05/11/2020 aan 14:45

Sometimes forgotten in favor of painting, photography is making a name for itself in auctions. Discover the ten photos that broke all records.


#1 Peter Lik, Phantom

In 2014, the Australian dethroned Andreas Gursky with the sale of Phantom (monochrome version of Ghost) for $6.5 million ($). Three photos sold for 10 million, placing him in the top 20 most expensive photos.


Peter Lik, 1999, Phantom, © Peter Lik


#2 Andreas Gursky, Rhein II

Previous record set in 2011 at $4.3 million ($) for this minimalist landscape. Andreas Gursky retouches his images, erasing elements and multiplying others to create a sensation of infinity. 


Andreas Gursky, Rhein II, 1999, © Andreas Gursky


#3 Cindy Sherman, Untitled

Sold for $3.9 million ($) this self-portrait is the most expensive in the world. The image had however been refused by Artforum magazine for which Cindy Sherman immortalized herself at the age of 27. 


Cindy Sherman, Untitled, 1981 © Cindy Sherman


#4 Gilbert & George, To Her Majesty

The artist couple works on collages from large photographs. Their work sold for $3.7 million ($) in 2008. 


Gilbert & George, To Her Majesty, 1973 © Gilbert & George


#5 Jeff Wall, Dead Troops Talks 

This studio shot features resurrected Russian soldiers talking on a battlefield. It was sold for $3.7 million ($).


Jeff Wall, Dead Troops Talks,1992 © Jeff Wall


#6 Richard Prince, Untitled (Cowboy)

This unknown cowboy, sold for $3.4 million ($) is actually an advertising campaign for Marlboro. Sued for plagiarism Richard Prince won his lawsuit.


Richard Prince, Untitled (Cowboy), 1989 © Richard Prince


#7 Andreas Gursky, 99 Cent II Diptychon

#8 Andreas Gursky, Los Angeles

New performances by the German artist for this denunciation of over-consumption ($3.3 million) and his Los Angeles cliché ($2.9 million).


Andreas Gursky, 99 Cent II Diptychon, 2001 © Andreas Gursky



Andreas Gursky, Los Angeles, 1998 © Andreas Gursky


#9 Edward Steichen, The Pond-Moonlight

Taken shortly before the appearance of color, this famous picture was sold for $2.9 million ($) in 2006. Steichen generated the color by manually applying layers of light-sensitive erasers. 


Edward Steichen, The Pond-Moonlight, 1904 © Edward Steichen


#10 Cindy Sherman, Untitled #153

This life-size self-portrait sold for $2.7 million ($) closes our list of the 10 most expensive photos in history.


Cindy Sherman, Untitled #153, 1985 © Cindy Sherman


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© 2020 Justine Grosset