10 Most Expensive Photographs in the World, Sold for Crazy Money

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Sometimes photographers amaze us with their art, the ability to uniquely reflect the world around us and get a look at it from a different angle. And sometimes doing something completely disgusting or normal so that it is impossible to understand why the work is recognized as a masterpiece. Anyway, these photos were sold for millions of dollars.


1. Rhine II (1999)

Author – Andreas Gursky
Price – $ 4,338,500

Andreas Gursky – the famous German photographer, to his credit a lot of photos, then sold for a fabulous price. In 1999, he took a photo of “Rhine II», which shows the Rhine river between the two dams under the majestic cloudy sky. Total Gursky has created six images of the Rhine, and the “Rhine II» – the largest picture in the series.

The most amazing thing in the photo is that it was done with a “Photoshop”: original background “port” power plant, port facilities and a passer-by walking their dogs – all Gursky removed, leaving only the actual Rhine and dams.

Gursky said their actions thus: “Paradoxically, this view of the Rhine could not be obtained on the spot, improvement was needed to provide an accurate image of the modern river.”

Revised photographer printed photo size 185,4 × 363,5 cm, mounted it on the acrylic glass and placed in a frame. The picture was sold at auction «Christie’s» in New York for $ 4,338,500 in 2011, the year – the buyer was the gallery of Monica Shpryut in Cologne, and subsequently resold to an unknown photo collector.


2. Untitled # 96 (1981)

Author – Cindy Sherman
Price – $ 3,890,500

American photo artist Cindy Sherman works in the art of staged photographs. Her work is widely known among the people in the arts, and she is ranked seventh in the list of “one hundred most influential people in the art world in 2011,” according to the «ArtReview». Sherman calls herself an artist, performance artist and refuses to recognize itself as a photographer.

One of the most famous and expensive it works – Photo # 96, made in 1981: the picture shows a girl, freckled, with red hair and a bright orange dress, lying on his back and gazing into the distance. According to Sherman, photography has deep meaning – a teenage girl, seductive and innocent at the same time, holding a piece of newspaper with ads dating, which means that while not strong feminine essence is looking for a way to escape.

The picture was bought at auction «Christie’s» in 2011 by an unknown collector.


3. For Her Majesty, a collage of pictures (1973)

Authors – Gilbert and George Passmore Prosh
Price – $ 3,765,276

British artists Gilbert and George Passmore Prosh work in the genre of performance photography. World fame brought them work where they served as living sculptures.

Their collage of pictures made back in 1973, was sold for big money at auction in 2008: a black-and-white photographs show men in expensive suits, combined with the interior. The buyer is unknown.


4. “They say the dead soldiers” (1992)

Author – Jeff Wall
Price – $ 3,666,500

Canadian photographer Jeff Wall known for his large-format photographs, “calling card” of the artist, he developed a technique to print the pictures in a transparent manner.

His most famous work, “said the dead soldiers” was created under the influence of the war in Afghanistan. Despite the realism, it’s a staged photo: all the people in the picture – the invited actors. When you work on it Wall used make-up and costumes, and the picture was taken in a photo studio and later processed by a computer.

The finished image size of 229 × 417 cm were printed on a transparent basis and placed in a plastic box.


5. Untitled (Cowboy) (2001-2002)

Author – Richard Prince
Price – $ 3,401,000

Richard Prince is one of the most famous American artists of his generation. The main themes of his work – stylized period of so-called “American Antiquity” and the modern world of consumption. World fame brought him three photos, one of whom was a member, and “Cowboy”.

Picture was created specifically for the campaign “Marlboro”: cowboy in the picture, according to the artist, is not presented as a typical American standard of courage, sung in Westerns, but as a sex symbol of the illusory, unattainable ideal of a real man.

The painting was sold in 2007, the year the auction «Christie’s».


6. 99 Cent II, Diptych (2001)

Author – Andreas Gursky
Price – $ 3,346,456

The above snapshot “Rhine II» – not only photo-million of Gursky: his work from two photos of “99 cents II» was sold for less, but still brought the creator of several million dollars.

The photographs depicted the supermarket, which displays and consumer goods. Generally the two pictures are strikingly similar and differ only in angles. Of course, Gursky has resorted to the computer processing of images failed to unnecessary details – buyers, low hanging lights and wires.

Photo acquired in 2007 by Ukrainian businessman Victor Pinchuk. The high cost of shots due, first of all, the author’s name, the time of sale already has acquired great fame.


7. Los Angeles (1998)

Author – Andreas Gursky
Price – $ 2,941,755

Yet in a single shot Gursky shows a night landscape of Los Angeles – a city with a bird’s eye looks like a distant field of artificial lights. Photo symbolizes the modern world and the place of man in it. According to the artist, the man is the main character in this photo: everyone lives in the vast world of globalization, which takes place just one of the millions of inhabitants of the same.


8. Lake in the Moonlight (1904)

Author – Edward Steichen
Price – $ 2,928,000

Impressionist painter Edward Steichen worked in the first half of the XX-th century: he created a series of portraits of famous Hollywood celebrities, and later engaged in documentary filmmaking, for which he received several “Oscars”.

His most famous photo work – “Lake in the moonlight” – autochrome Photo: originally a former black-and-white image, “Lake” acquired through the use of color Stayhenom photosensitive jelly. No one had the technology or have not used, so that the image can be regarded as the world’s first color photograph.

In 2006, the “Lake in the moonlight” was sold at auction, “Sotheby’s” for a lot of money. Price can be considered reasonable – shot more than a century, and it is an excellent illustration of the preserved history of photography.


9. Untitled # 153 (1985)

Author – Cindy Sherman
Price – $ 2,770,500

Another example of creativity Cindy Sherman – Photo Untitled # 153. It shows a dead woman with a muddy blue-gray hair: glassy eyes staring at the sky, his mouth half open, and visible bruise on her cheek. Photo leaves a terrible feeling, but, nevertheless, it was sold at auction for a seven-figure sum.


10. Billy the Kid (1879-80)

Author – Unknown
Price – $ 2,300,000

Billy the Kid was an American criminal, convicted of the murder of 21-th person. The governor of one of the states of the Wild West has appointed a reward for his capture, and killed the Kid Sheriff Pat Garrett, who wrote a biography of the thug then.

The uniqueness of this photo is that it is – the only picture of Billy the Kid, the other photo does not exist. It was sold in 2011, the year at the 22nd annual auction «Brian Lebel’s Old West Show & Auction» in Denver. Collector William Koch bought it for more than $ 2 million, although initially the organizers did not expect to get a picture of greater than $ 400 thousand

Authorship is attributed to a Friend Kid Dan Dedrick, however, to ascertain exactly who took the picture, it is impossible. Ambrotype photograph was taken by using a metal plate and the image reflected in the mirror it.

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