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Cindy Sherman Photograph Sells for $3.8 Million, Setting New Record

Cindy Sherman’s “Untitled #96″ from 1981 has become the world’s most valuable photograph after selling for a staggering $3.89 million at a Christie’s auction yesterday (it was estimated to be worth up to $2 million). The winning bidder was Philippe Segalot, a private advisor to some of the world’s wealthiest art collectors. The photo takes the top spot away from “99 Cent II Diptychon” by Andreas Gursky, which enjoyed five years as the world’s most valuable photo after selling for $3.35 million back in 2006.

(via ARTINFO via Popular Photography)


Image credit: Photograph by Cindy Sherman


 
 
  • Red Red

    I guess I don’t get art or its buyers. I wouldn’t have even posted that to my Flickr stream if I’d taken it.

  • http://www.tyleringram.com Tyler Ingram dot Com

    Can someone explain to me why you would pay $3M for the above photo? Am I missing something here?

  • http://www.tyleringram.com Tyler Ingram dot Com

    Can someone explain to me why you would pay $3M for the above photo? Am I missing something here?

  • Davie


    99 Cent II Diptychon
    ” is quite cool but this is just crap

  • Davie


    99 Cent II Diptychon
    ” is quite cool but this is just crap

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=656060939 Fran Purdy

    I’ve never understood the appeal of her photos – they just look like someone let a child loose with an iphone.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=656060939 Fran Purdy

    I’ve never understood the appeal of her photos – they just look like someone let a child loose with an iphone.

  • Magneticart

    crap.

  • Magneticart

    crap.

  • Rodney

    No, I get why its a worthy photo…. It can tell a thousand stories pretty much like the Mona Lisa, only more possibilities with the crumpled letter and listless look. But $3.8 million? Caramba!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/rick020200 Rick Bennett

    I sure don’t understand the appeal, but I’m sure it made the former owner very happy.

  • Gregory

    Is it April 1st? 

  • who cares

    Pretentious curators? I don’t know, but there is some art in the developement of the negative that holds value as art. . . but I have seen curators give lame arse poetic caption for photos as mundane and trivial as that of a phone, taken with a point and shoot. I would love to give example of this, but out of respect for the photographer, I decline to. . . not that it’s the photographer’s fault. . . . I am not too concerned about these rare instances of collectors going ape sh*t, but there are some “curators” out there that are diluting the art of photography by taking the trivial and making it the rival . . . you would think as much from some of the things I have read.

  • http://twitter.com/kombizz kombizz

    Lucky her
    Perhaps that image was fancied by a mega rich corporate?
    Who knows? 

  • http://www.skinnerphotographs.com Skinner Photographs

     I’d buy it for $3.9m if I thought in 5 years it would sell for $4.5m to some rich HK investor. Don’t get too hung up on the quality of the photograph… it’s all about speculation and way more convenient than buying real estate.

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  • http://twitter.com/ihad Alexander Ipfelkofer

     curators and investors take heed and come this way @ihad:twitter ! !

  • http://twitter.com/_iMatt_ Matteo Gastaldi

     mhh ok! If you want to buy one of my photos.. I’d be happy to selling one for $1.9m :)

  • Cottrell4

    I agree and I have been a photographer for over 20 years.  I don’t get why this would be worth so much money.
     

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  • Anonymous

    Am I the only one staring at the photo of a half-asleep overweight boy/girl (I can’t tell)?

  • Adam

    People want to buy art. They’ll pay for anything that’s tagged as “art”.

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  • http://twitter.com/sriniovasan srinivasan sankar

    Goodness me! I simply don’t get how art is priced. I probably never will. 

  • http://twitter.com/sriniovasan srinivasan sankar

    Goodness me! I simply don’t get how art is priced. I probably never will. 

  • tim

    The appeal here is that when you look at this photograph, it makes you think. It makes you wonder what that girl is thinking, why is she laying on the floor and of what importance is the paper in her hand. I personally would not have paid over $20 for it but, what the heck do I know?

  • tim

    P.S. my grandparents had that same exact linoleum flooring in their kitchen, until around 1992.

  • Markscosmiclight

    Whats worse is the stupid journalism in this story that is lacking so much today. The story does not even tell who or what the image is of . . .?!?!?! Another so-so image of a woman that no one knows. Also they did not report as to why some idiot gave 3.8 Million for this average Kodak moment. . .?!?!!? It’s not the photo that’s worth anything, it’s the banality of the worthless story about it!
    -Mark Seibold, Award Winning Astro-Photographer, Artist, Astronomy Educator, Portland OR.

  • Markscosmiclight

    Whats worse is the stupid journalism in this story that is lacking so much today. The story does not even tell who or what the image is of . . .?!?!?! Another so-so image of a woman that no one knows. Also they did not report as to why some idiot gave 3.8 Million for this average Kodak moment. . .?!?!!? It’s not the photo that’s worth anything, it’s the banality of the worthless story about it!
    -Mark Seibold, Award Winning Astro-Photographer, Artist, Astronomy Educator, Portland OR.

  • Saskatoongreentree

    Do yourself a favour folks…read an art history textbook and you’ll hopefully “understand” why this work is so valuable. You’ll also understand why the photographer herself deserves such recognition and praise. @Cottrell4: You’ve been a photographer for over 20 years and don’t  get why a photo by Sherman (not to mention THIS photo in particular) is so valuable? You’re obviously not a very good photographer! Also, the fact that a WOMAN artist is finally getting the recognition that her male contemporaries is fantastic. 

  • Mrmichaels4

    At first glance it looks like a regularsmegular photo of a girl laying down.  Lighting is subpar and colors are dull and bland, also there is no contrast…BUT…the magic of this photo is not of those things but more of the composition….LOOK CLOSELY!  Pay attention to the story or insinuation the photo is saying…First look to the far left…notice the girl foot in the frame…that suggests her leg is bent awkwardly back and up…STARTING TO THINK NOW?!  Then look at her expresion on her face, is it of dismay or is it expressionless as if she is lifeless…well if she is lifeless is that a suicide not in her hand???  Got you juices flowing??? Art is in its inerpretation guys, and challenges you to open you eyes and see the image behind the image…this photo just motivates me to shoot for my very own million dollar photo.

  • wanto

    Read up on the history of Cindy Sherman, the context of her work, the time frame of her work, and finally the impact it had on not only photography as fine art but female artists of the 70′s on up.  @d10ed81f3c5891d169689c4ac08bcfbd:disqus, you are ignorant and obviously have not brushed up on your history of photography in fine art, just photography as an amateur.

  • wanto

    Read up on the history of Cindy Sherman, the context of her work, the time frame of her work, and finally the impact it had on not only photography as fine art but female artists of the 70′s on up.  @d10ed81f3c5891d169689c4ac08bcfbd:disqus, you are ignorant and obviously have not brushed up on your history of photography in fine art, just photography as an amateur.

  • Rayat

    “Amateur”, “Ignorant”; sounds like contemptuous artspeak is alive and well. Methinks I detect a little defensiveness there. What happened to a piece speaking for itself, if this piece isn’t saying that much then why put words in its mouth.

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  • Reo

    lies…

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  • Spooky

    Wow, do you none of you even know who Cindy Sherman is? Do you none of you know the context of this photo within her body of work, which is now in its 35th year?

    I’m sure a quick trip to wikipedia could have cleared things up for you and would take as long as typing an uninformed comment.

    She was just named one of the ten most  important artists of the past 100 years and RIGHTFULLY so. Cindy Sherman’s body of work is insanely amazing.

  • Bossox9

    Hagendaz ice cream bar wrapper and in ecstacy on the kitchen floor?  I can see why it sold fo such a princely sum!

  • vogelphoto

    You do not know who she is (and that is fine) but don’t go assuming your world is the same as everyone else’s. The portrait is of the artist her self and Cindy Sherman is one of the most influential and important contemporary fine art photographers of her time. Art is subjective yes, I happen to think the piece is amazing and part of a wonderful series, you on the other hand, don’t like it, that’s fine. To call things stupid or people idiots is uncalled for. On a side not, not for nothing, but Cindy Sherman has no need to put titles or “award winning” in front of her name.  

  • Vogelphoto

    Interesting, I wonder if it were a male artist if the comments on here would be a little more favorable.

  • vogelphoto

    No you are wrong, it is VERY  ignorant for him to state he doesn’t know why this would be so much money and it is safe to assume he is amateur. Any “photographer” who does not respect & love their craft enough to have at least some basic knowledge of this artist is not publicly displaying anything remotely resembling professionalism. 

  • SnappyRaptor

    You MUST be joking. You say voglephoto is “obviously not a very good photographer!” because of unfamiliarity with Sherman and her work, now that’s rich. How does awareness of another’s work determine the quality of a photographers own efforts? I am sure that twenty years is more than enough time to make it or break it for any photographer; art history textbook or Sherman aside.

  • SnappyRaptor

     Sorry, replace vogelphoto with Cottrell4 in my pervious comment.