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10 most expensive PHOTOGRAPHS EVER SOLD

Updated: Nov 19, 2020

Most of us are wondering how to sell our images. Let’s have a look at the 10 most expensive photos in the world.

1. Rhein II Andreas Gursky – 1999 The image shows the Lower Rhine. The river is depicted between green grass fields and under the overcast sky. Gursky removed dog walkers and a factory building in digital editing. Sold at Christie’s New York in November 2011, it was the held the world record for most expensive print ever sold until 2014.


2. Spiritual America Richard Prince – 1981 It is one of the most controversial photos in history. It depicts the 10-year old and naked Brooke Shields. Her childish body is in great contrast with her seductive and mature facial expression. The police banned the work from the exhibition in the Tate Modern in London.

3. Untitled #96 Cindy Sherman – 1981 Sherman used the centrefolds of men’s erotic magazines as inspiration for this work. She appears as the complete opposite of a model who we would find in those pictures. Many people claim that her facial expression and body language shows vulnerability. Sherman depicts rape and abuse in the photo. The model looks scared instead of being seductive. 


4. To Her Majesty Gilbert & George – 1973 These photographic provocateurs created this installation as a Gelatin Silver print. The series of photos commemorate drunk evenings of the duo. It went under the hammer at Christie’s London in June 2008.



5. Dead Troops Talk (A vision after an ambush of a Red Army patrol, near Moqor, Afghanistan, winter 1986) Jell Wall – 1992 Here is the image in question, sold as transparency in lightbox. Jeff Wall is world-famous for his large-format backlit Cibachrome photographs of staged scenes inspired by the history of art. In his conceptual style, he also refers to philosophical problems of the photographic and artistic representation. It depicts a fictional scene with a battlefield. The soldiers are coming back to life, resembling a zombie horror movie. This went on sale at Christie’s New York in May 2012.



6. 99 Cent II Diptychon Andreas Gursky – 2001 This colour print that was sold at Sotheby’s London in February 2007. The two-part photo depicts a supermarket with several aisles. Gursky altered the picture digitally.



7. Chicago Board of Trade II Andreas Gursky – 1999 The picture exhibits the trading floor of the Board of Trade in Chicago. To express the sense of movement, Gursky double-exposed several parts of the image. Gursky is well-known for his unique style in the world of photography. He makes huge painting-like prints of images which show the enormous scale of human existence and our engagement with globalization in the contemporary world. He scanned his large-format images and edited them on a computer.


8. Untitled (Cowboy) Richard Prince – 2000 Prince’s work is a photo of a photo. He rephotographed pictures while he was developing his own style. In this case, the image is from a Marlboro campaign, and it depicts the ‘Marlboro Man’.


9. Untitled Film Still #48 Cindy Sherman – 1979 The photograph is part of a series that the artist made between 1977 and 1980. Sherman herself appears as fictitious female characters in the 69 black and white photos. She used makeup, wigs and vintage dresses to recreate female cliches from films.



10. The Pond – Moonlight Edvard Steichen – 1904 The artist created the early photograph by applying light-sensitive gums. This gave the final print more than one colour. There are three versions of The Pond -Moonlight. Each of them is unique because the layering of the gums is done by hands. At the time, it was the highest price ever paid for a photo at an auction. The two other versions are exhibited in museums.




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