November 17, 2011

Is This Photo Worth 4.3 Million Dollars?

The answer is yes.  That's how much it went for at auction last week at Christie's, according to a story on NPR.  The photographer is Andreas Gursky and the photo is of the Rhine River in his native Germany.  On the surface it's not an extraordinary image. But the actual print that was sold is very large, 6 x11 feet.  But I think I'd want something 60 x 111 feet for that price!  

Of course, art experts have a lot to say in the NPR piece about the photographer's German background, his famous mentors and the significance of the Rhine in Western art.  But I would not have guessed it was the Rhine, more or less a river, when I first saw it.  It almost looks like a painting of horizontal stripes of green and grey. But all that adds up to major cha-ching in the somewhat loopy world of contemporary art valuation these days.

And what was the photo Gursky beat out that was the previous record holder?  That would be 3.3 million for Cindy Sherman's "Unititled".

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