The 10 most expensive photographs ever sold

First, a quick apology for the slow pace of posts on eyecurious over the past few weeks. Post frequency will be returning to normal very soon. In the meantime, here is a little slice of photographic miscellanea that made my jaw drop. Below is a list of the 10 most expensive photographs of all time. Have a quick look through and see if there is a name that stands out.

  1. Andreas Gursky, 99 Cent II Diptychon (2001), $3,346,456, February 2007, Sotheby’s London auction. 
  2. Edward Steichen, The Pond-Moonlight (1904), $2,928,000, February 2006, Sotheby’s New York auction.
  3. Dmitry Medvedev, Kremlin of Tobolsk (2009), $1,750,000, January 2010, Christmas Yarmarka, Saint Petersburg.
  4. Edward Weston, Nude (1925), $1,609,000, April 2008, Sotheby’s New York auction.
  5. Alfred Stieglitz, Georgia O’Keeffe (Hands) (1919), $1,470,000, February 2006, Sotheby’s New York auction.
  6. Alfred Stieglitz, Georgia O’Keeffe Nude (1919), $1,360,000, February 2006, Sotheby’s New York auction.
  7. Richard Prince, Untitled (Cowboy) (1989), $1,248,000, November 2005, Christie’s New York auction.
  8. Edward Weston, Nautilus (1927), $1,082,500, April 2010, Sotheby’s New York auction.
  9. Joseph-Philibert Girault de Prangey, 113.Athènes, T[emple] de J[upiter] olympien pris de l’est (1842), $922,488, 2003, auction.
  10. Gustave Le Gray, The Great Wave, Sete (1857) $838,000, 1999.

(Source: the modern day Encyclopedia Britannica, Wikipedia)

No, your eyes are not playing tricks on you (although Wikipedia may very well be): Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian President, is second only to Gursky and Steichen for this view of the Kremlin Tobolsk.

Dmitry Medvedev, Tobolsk Kremlin

Admittedly he achieved his tidy $1.75 million sale price at a charity auction where Putin had previously managed to sell this masterpiece for the puny sum of $1.14 million, but should we be reconsidering Medvedev’s standing as a photographer? After his recent address to the Russian people on the subject, perhaps we should.

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One Comment

  1. Posted 3 October 2010 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    I am very pleased and happy to see that even top Politicians and Administrators like the Russian President Mr. Medvedev is a Pictorial Photographer. His Photo “Tobolsk Kremlin ” has the rare quality of 3 D element, which is the most desired effect but which is very hard to get on a Photograph. The reason is that due to limitation, we have to record a three dimensional subject on a two dimensional plane i.e. Photographic Paper. It requires a Real Artist to infuse the most important ‘Third dimension’ through Illusion. The success rate is very low. But so is the number of Photographer Artists.

    I am glad that I came to know a Photo Artist who also happens to be a top notch Administrator.

    My best wishes and regards.

    ADIT AGARWALA, FRPS, EFIAP

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