8 Of the Most Expensive Photographs Ever Sold

Published December 15th, 2020 - 01:13 GMT

In recent years, fine art photography has spread dramatically; most photos are being sold for what people may consider reasonable amounts, but some are sold for extremely high prices that photographers themselves would never have expected! In fact, the price and value of the photographs is not determined by the photographers themselves but rather by the people who buy the photos.

Here are 8 of the highest selling photographs in the world that were sold through auctions:

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1.Peter Lik, Phantom

1.Peter Lik, Phantom: This photo was taken in an area known as “Antelope Canyon” in Arizona, USA, by Peter Lake. It was auctioned in 2014 for a price of $65 million, and it is ranked as the most expensive picture ever sold! The buyer was listed as "private and anonymous," which means that this sale cannot be verified.

2. Andreas Gursky, Rhein II

2. Andreas Gursky, Rhein II: This photograph was taken at the Lower Rhine, by Andreas Gursky and it is considered a chromogenic color image. It shows the flow of the Rhine River, with green fields appearing on both sides, and the sky added a shade of gray tone to the image. This is the second of Gursky's six photographs of the Rhine. It was sold for $4.33 million in 2011.

3. Cindy Sherman, Untitled

3. Cindy Sherman, Untitled: It is a portrait photograph taken in 1981, in which the image of the young woman, Cindy Sherman, dressed in "retro" clothes, lies on the ground. The image is dominated by the orange color derived from the dark and light orange colors of her clothes, which gives the image a certain tone. The photograph was sold With $ 3.89 million in 2011.

4. Gilbert & George, To Her Majesty

4. Gilbert & George, To Her Majesty: This is a silver gelatinous image, which was sold in 2008 for $3.76 million, and is a collection of artworks by artists Gilbert Bruch and George Basmoor from Britain, known collectively as Gilbert and George.

5. Jeff Wall, Dead Troops Talk

5. Jeff Wall, Dead Troops Talk: Taken by photographer Jeff Wall in 1992, Dead Troops Talk is a transparent image displayed in a lightbox, representing models being photographed in a studio and placed digitally on outdoor views.This photo sold in 2012 for $3.66 million .

6. Andreas Gursky, 99 Cent II Diptychon

6. Andreas Gursky, 99 Cent II Diptychon: This is a very large image spanning more than 11 feet and designed as a diptych. The main scene in the image represents the 99Cent store in Los Angeles, where photographer Gorsky used the semi-symmetrical font and the color packaging on shelves to create a high contrast image. The image was sold in London in 2007 for $3.34 million.

7. Andreas Gursky, Chicago Board of Trade

7. Andreas Gursky, Chicago Board of Trade: It is another image by photographer Andreas Gursky, and it is a color image showing the Chicago Board of Trade, in Illinois, United States of America, in 1999. The photo was taken from above, showing brokers moving quickly while wearing their brightly colored jackets, Gorsky also used digital editing of image exposure layers to create a "blurry" scene of motion seen around moderators. The image was sold in 2013 for $3.29 million.

8. Richard Prince, Untitled (Cowboy)

8. Richard Prince, Untitled (Cowboy): This photograph that was sold in 2005 for $3.077 million at an auction is a photograph of an ad, or what Richard Prince invented: the rephotography! Prince took pictures of the “Marlboro Man”ads and cropped out the copy, leaving only the iconic cowboy and his surroundings. It is worth mentioning that back in 2005, this photograph’s price was the highest publicly recorded price for the sale of a contemporary ­photograph. Prince was sued by a photographer for using copyrighted images, but the courts ruled largely in Prince’s favor. That wasn’t his only victory. Prince’s rephotography helped to create a new art form—photography of photography—that foreshadowed the era of digital sharing and upended our understanding of a photo’s authenticity and ownership.

1.Peter Lik, Phantom
2. Andreas Gursky, Rhein II
3. Cindy Sherman, Untitled
4. Gilbert & George, To Her Majesty
5. Jeff Wall, Dead Troops Talk
6. Andreas Gursky, 99 Cent II Diptychon
7. Andreas Gursky, Chicago Board of Trade
8. Richard Prince, Untitled (Cowboy)
1.Peter Lik, Phantom
1.Peter Lik, Phantom: This photo was taken in an area known as “Antelope Canyon” in Arizona, USA, by Peter Lake. It was auctioned in 2014 for a price of $65 million, and it is ranked as the most expensive picture ever sold! The buyer was listed as "private and anonymous," which means that this sale cannot be verified.
2. Andreas Gursky, Rhein II
2. Andreas Gursky, Rhein II: This photograph was taken at the Lower Rhine, by Andreas Gursky and it is considered a chromogenic color image. It shows the flow of the Rhine River, with green fields appearing on both sides, and the sky added a shade of gray tone to the image. This is the second of Gursky's six photographs of the Rhine. It was sold for $4.33 million in 2011.
3. Cindy Sherman, Untitled
3. Cindy Sherman, Untitled: It is a portrait photograph taken in 1981, in which the image of the young woman, Cindy Sherman, dressed in "retro" clothes, lies on the ground. The image is dominated by the orange color derived from the dark and light orange colors of her clothes, which gives the image a certain tone. The photograph was sold With $ 3.89 million in 2011.
4. Gilbert & George, To Her Majesty
4. Gilbert & George, To Her Majesty: This is a silver gelatinous image, which was sold in 2008 for $3.76 million, and is a collection of artworks by artists Gilbert Bruch and George Basmoor from Britain, known collectively as Gilbert and George.
5. Jeff Wall, Dead Troops Talk
5. Jeff Wall, Dead Troops Talk: Taken by photographer Jeff Wall in 1992, Dead Troops Talk is a transparent image displayed in a lightbox, representing models being photographed in a studio and placed digitally on outdoor views.This photo sold in 2012 for $3.66 million .
6. Andreas Gursky, 99 Cent II Diptychon
6. Andreas Gursky, 99 Cent II Diptychon: This is a very large image spanning more than 11 feet and designed as a diptych. The main scene in the image represents the 99Cent store in Los Angeles, where photographer Gorsky used the semi-symmetrical font and the color packaging on shelves to create a high contrast image. The image was sold in London in 2007 for $3.34 million.
7. Andreas Gursky, Chicago Board of Trade
7. Andreas Gursky, Chicago Board of Trade: It is another image by photographer Andreas Gursky, and it is a color image showing the Chicago Board of Trade, in Illinois, United States of America, in 1999. The photo was taken from above, showing brokers moving quickly while wearing their brightly colored jackets, Gorsky also used digital editing of image exposure layers to create a "blurry" scene of motion seen around moderators. The image was sold in 2013 for $3.29 million.
8. Richard Prince, Untitled (Cowboy)
8. Richard Prince, Untitled (Cowboy): This photograph that was sold in 2005 for $3.077 million at an auction is a photograph of an ad, or what Richard Prince invented: the rephotography! Prince took pictures of the “Marlboro Man”ads and cropped out the copy, leaving only the iconic cowboy and his surroundings. It is worth mentioning that back in 2005, this photograph’s price was the highest publicly recorded price for the sale of a contemporary ­photograph. Prince was sued by a photographer for using copyrighted images, but the courts ruled largely in Prince’s favor. That wasn’t his only victory. Prince’s rephotography helped to create a new art form—photography of photography—that foreshadowed the era of digital sharing and upended our understanding of a photo’s authenticity and ownership.