Jeff Wall Untangling Garage Expensive Photograph

The most expensive photographs sold at auction

As one of the more ‘recent’ art forms, photography’s popularity in the art market has grown and grown, with the highest amount paid for a photograph sticking at $838,000 in 1999 until being bumped off the top spot 4 years later with a sale of $922,488, and then again 2 years later when the first million dollar photograph was sold for $1,248,000. Ever since, the auction houses of Sotheby’s and Christie’s have vied for the title of ‘the most expensive photograph’ as photography’s popularity continues to grow as a smart investment. The most expensive photograph ever sold is a contentious topic as more and more photographs are sold privately, directly to the buyer. However, here is a list of the most expensive sold at auction, including a new addition recorded a couple of weeks ago. Starting at the low end:

Ansel Adams Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico

Ansel Adams Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico 1941. Gelatin Silver Print. Sold at Sotheby’s New York October 2006: $609,600

 

Robert Mapplethorpe Andy Warhol

Robert Mapplethorpe Andy Warhol 1987. Platinum print on linen with four silk panels. Sold at Sotheby’s New York October 2006: $643,200

 

Eugene Atget Joueur d’Orgue

Eugene Atget Joueur d’Orgue 1898-89. Gelatin silver chloride print. Sold at Christie’s New York April 2010: $686,500

 

Andreas Gursky Hong Kong, Stock Exchange (Diptych)

Andreas Gursky Hong Kong, Stock Exchange (Diptych) 1994. Chromogenic colour prints. Sold at Sotheby’s London June 2013: $744,063

 

Gustave Le Gray The Great Wave, Sete

Gustave Le Gray The Great Wave, Sete 1857. Alubmen print from collodion glass negatives. Sold at Sotheby’s London October 1999: $838,000

 

Freischwimmer #84 Wolfgang Tillmans Photography Auction Record Phillips

Wolfgang Tillmans Freischwimmer 84 2004. Chromogenic colour print (C-type). Sold at Phillips’s London June 2017: $840,836

 

Joseph Philibert Girault de Prangey 113 Athenes, Temple de Jupiter daguerreotype

Joseph Philibert Girault de Prangey 113 Athenes, Temple de Jupiter 1842. Daguerreotype. Sold at Christie’s London May 2003: $922,488

 

Andreas Gursky Tokyo, Stock Exchange

Andreas Gursky Tokyo, Stock Exchange 1990. Chromogenic colour print. Sold at Sotheby’s London June 2013: $959,234

 

Gustave Le Gray Boats leaving the port of Havre Photograph

Gustave Le Gray Bateaux quittant le port du Havre (navires de la flute de Napoleon III)  1856. Albumen Print from Wet Collodion Glass. Sold at Christie’s New York in February 2016: $965,000

 

Jeff Wall Untangling Garage Expensive Photograph

Jeff Wall Untangling 1994. Colour cibachrome transparency on light box. Sold in 2006: AUD $1,000,000

Follow Stringers Journal for a countdown of the 30+ remaining most expensive photographs, reaching $4,000,000+.

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