Wednesday, March 07, 2007Home

Photographs at Auction: a New World Record

There is now a new world auction record for a photograph. On February 7, 2007, the Contemporary Art Evening Sale at Sotheby's London sold Andreas Gursky's 99-Cent II diptych at auction within nine months. Not only did it set a new record for the artist, whose image sold twice during auctions in 2006, but for all photography. At 1,700,000 British pounds sterling, or $3,346,456 USD, lot 62 easily broke both records.

The Gursky was the only work of photography for sale that evening, and the sale marks its third major milestone. Every time it has been auctioned, it has sold for millions, setting new records in sales of contemporary photography. On the third, most recent occasion, 99-Cent II transcended the contemporary field and broke the record for a photograph at auction, which was held previously by Edward Steichen's "The Pond--Moonlight" at $2,928,000, set on February 14th, 2006, at Sotheby's New York's Met-Gilman sale.

On the May 10, 2006 evening sale of contemporary art at Sotheby's, it was the sole photograph of the evening and sold for $2,256,000. Later that year, in November 2006, it sold again for $2.48 million at the Phillips Contemporary Art sale. The trend keeps going on, all for a single image. It's truly enough to boggle the mind.


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