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:
The second edition of Photo London will be taking place at Somerset House between 19-22 May 2016.
In addition to the main Fair of 80 of the world’s leading galleries, your ticket to Photo London includes access to major publishers, book signings, special installations and entry to three major exhibitions commissioned with the generous support of the LUMA Foundation – supporters of the Photo London public programme.
These exhibitions include:
Don McCullin, presented by Hamiltons Gallery
Craigie Horsfield, from the collection of the Wilson Centre for Photography
Sergey Chilikov: Photoprovocations, from the Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow
Tickets for the Photo London Talks programme, including Nick Knight, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Don McCullin, Mary McCartney, Ed Burtynsky, Olga Sviblova, Thomas Struth, Katy Grannan, Graham Nash, Alec Soth and Cheryl Newman will be released later this month.
See more by clicking here
Originally scheduled for Saturday 14th November, the ‘Collection Shalom Shpilman – Part II’ auction was postponed due to the events in Paris. The auction eventually went ahead with 132 lots sold.
The most expensive lot sold was Dora Maar’s 1936 gelatine silver print (above) ‘Les annees vous guettent’ which was estimated to sell for €100,000 – €150,000 and instead sold for €325,500.
Other successful sales were WOLS, Alfred Otto Wolfgang Schulze’s ‘Komposition, vers’ (1935), a silver gelatin print (above) which sold for €109,500 with an estimation of €70,000-80,000, and Thomas Struth’s ‘Cerro Morro Solar, Lima, Peru’ (2003),a 4th edition (of 10) chromogenic print (top), which also sold for €109,500, with an original estimate for €40,000-60,000.
For more information and results from all lots sold at this auction click here
The 19th edition of the Paris Photo fair had to be abandoned on the 14th November due to the attacks in Paris, but organisers of the fair are now hosting a gallery weekend for those who missed out. The event takes place this weekend in Paris, with Paris Photo releasing the following statement:
‘Following the tragic events that hit Paris and the premature closing of Paris Photo November 14 and 15th, the Paris Photo team thanks its exhibitors for their confidence and shares in the general disappointment of the closing of the 19th edition of Paris Photo after only three days which were to be announced as our most successful to date.
Because such events cannot and must not deprive us of our most important cultural events, at the initiative of the gallery Alain Gutharc, and with the immediate participation of the galleries Les Filles du Calvaire and Françoise Paviot, 54 International and Parisian galleries invite the public to discover their exhibitions in their private venues where the artworks will be displayed as they had been imagined for Paris Photo 2015.
In collaboration and with the support of Paris Photo, participating galleries will be exceptionally open from 10am-8pm Saturday and Sunday November 28-29th. This will be the occasion for collectors and photography aficionados who did not have the opportunity to visit the fair at the Grand Palais, to discover these exceptional artworks within the galleries.’
For a list of galleries involved in this weekend’s event, information on reimbursements or to view a virtual tour of the space, visit the official website here
On 12th November was the first of Christies two photography auctions this month. The ‘Photographs’ auction was held at Christies Paris with 100 lots available, including the rare and controversial ‘Man in Polyester Suit’ by Robert Mapplethorpe (below), which was estimated to sell for €180,000–250,000, yet sold for €381,500. The gelatine silver print came from a private collection in Arizona and was the most expensive lot sold at the auction.
Other successful lots came from Joseph-Philbert Girault de Prangey (top), whose ’23 Rome Jupiter Tonnant’ (1842) sold for €175,500 with an original estimation of €30,000-€50,000, and ’74 Pres d’alexandria le Desert’ (1842), which sold for €133,500 with an estimation for €40,000-€60,000. Both Daguerreotypes came from a private French collection.
Richard Avedon’s ‘Dovima with Elephants’ (above) has previously been the photographer’s most expensive photograph sold at auction ($1,151,976 Christie’s Paris, November 2005), yet this 28th edition of the gelatin silver print sold for only €51,900 at this auction.
To view all lots from this auction click here
On 14th November Bonhams hosted a ’Prints, Photographs and Works on Paper’ Auction in Hong Kong. The auction included various artistic mediums, including photographs by practitioners such as Mario Testing, Cecil Beaton, Elliott Erwitt, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Helmut Newton, Zhang Huan and Nobuyoshi Araki. Of the 101 lots available, 55 were sold.
Atypically the most expensive lot sold at the auction was a photograph; that of Ho Fan’s Approaching Shadow, 1954 (above), a silver gelatin print from a private collection in Hong Kong. The lot sold for HK$375,000 (£31,793).
For full results from this auction click here.
Dora Maar ‘Les Annees Vous Guettent’, 1932. Christie’s Auction Lot 241.
A brief statement from Christie’s regarding their second photography auction of the month, originally scheduled last weekend:
‘Due to the tragic events in Paris last Friday 13 November the sale of Collection Shalom Shpilman – Part II, initially planned for Saturday, 14 November has been rescheduled to Friday 20 November at 4pm.‘
For more information on this auction, and to view all lots available click here