The Most Expensive Photos Of All Time
The seven photographs listed below are the reported highest grossing photographs ever sold as of 2019. Five of them were sold at auction by Christie's, one by Sotheby's and the most expensive one....anonymously? Hmmm. Please have a look at the details below listing the artists, the titles of each artwork and the final auction prices as reported.
#1. Peter Lik | Phantom | Sold for $6.5 Million To An Anonymous Bidder December 2014
This black and white photograph of upper Antelope Canyon in Arizona shows a shaft of light and falling sand inside the underground slot canyon. An iconic place with many photographers and one I have photographed myself many times. While some controversy swirls around the sale of this photograph and its anonymous nature, it has still been widely recognized as the worlds most expensive photograph even though disputed by many.
#2. Andreas Gurksy | Rhein II | Sold for $4,338,500 via Christie's New York in November 2011
Rhein II is a photograph made by German visual artist Andreas Gursky in 1999. In the image, a river (the Lower Rhine) flows horizontally across the field of view, between flat green fields, under an overcast sky. Extraneous details such as dog walkers and a factory building were removed by the artist using digital editing.
#3. Richard Prince | Spiritual America | Sold for $3,973,000 via Christie's New York in May 2014
Richard Prince (born 1949) is an American painter and photographer. In the mid-1970s, Prince made drawings and painterly collages that he has since disowned. He began copying other photographers' work in 1977. His image, Untitled (Cowboy), a rephotographing of a photograph by Sam Abell and appropriated from a cigarette advertisement, was the first rephotograph to be sold for more than $1 million at auction at Christie's New York in 2005. He is regarded as "one of the most revered artists of his generation" according to the New York Times.
#4. Cindy Sherman | Untitled 96 | Sold for $3,890,500 via Christie's New York in May 2011
Untitled #96 is a photograph made by American visual artist Cindy Sherman in 1981. It is known as part of her Centerfold series. In May 2011, a print was auctioned for US$3.89 million, the highest price paid for a photographic print at that time, though the price has since been surpassed.
#5. Gilbert & George | To Her Majesty | Sold for $3,765,276 via Christie's London in June 2008
Gilbert Prousch, sometimes referred to as Gilbert Proesch (born 17 September 1943 in San Martin de Tor, Italy), and George Passmore (born 8 January 1942 in Plymouth, United Kingdom), are two artists who work together as the collaborative art duo Gilbert & George. They are known for their distinctive and highly formal appearance and manner in performance art, and also for their brightly coloured graphic-style photo-based artworks.
#6. Jeff Wall | Dead Troops Talk | Sold for $3,666,500 via Christie's New York in May 2012
Jeffrey Wall, OC, RSA (born September 29, 1946) is a Canadian artist best known for his large-scale back-lit cibachrome photographs and art history writing. Wall has been a key figure in Vancouver's art scene since the early-1970s. Early in his career, he helped define the Vancouver School and he has published essays on the work of his colleagues and fellow Vancouverites Rodney Graham, Ken Lum, and Ian Wallace. His photographic tableaux often take Vancouver's mixture of natural beauty, urban decay and postmodern and industrial featurelessness as their backdrop.
#7. Andreas Gursky | 7.99 Cent II Diptychon | Sold for $3,346,456 via Sotheby's London in February 2007
The artwork 99 Cent II Diptychon from 2001 is a two-part photograph made by Andreas Gursky probably in 1999, as the work is sometimes called "99 cent.1999".
The work depicts an interior of a supermarket with numerous aisles depicting goods resulting in a colorful work. The work is digitally altered to reduce perspective. The photograph is a chromogenic color print or c-print. It is a two-part work, also called a diptych. There were 6 sets made and mounted on acrylic glass. The photographs have a size of 2.07 by 3.37 metres (6.8 ft × 11.1 ft).
Next Up | Aaron Reed Photography
As you can see, photography does have its place in the collectable art world. As artists, it is our collectors themselves who determine value and we price our work accordingly. As a widely collected artist myself, although nowhere near the realm of these artworks here in terms of cost, I would argue that I provide a much greater value for my customers.
To see my available limited edition works, please enjoy the photographs below and feel free to look around my online galleries. You may just find a work of art to fall in love with that may fall somewhere on this list. :)