On November 9th, 2011 a new world record price of $4.3 million was paid for a photograph during a Christie’s New York auction. The total price for the Christie’s Auction was $4,338,500 for the “Rhein II” a photograph of a German river that was created in 1999. The photograph is signed by Andreas Gursky and face-mounted on Plexiglas.
The painting isn’t small with it being 73 inches by 143 inches and will be shipped to a bidder in Galerie Monika Sprüth, Cologne who is know to be a very famous German collector.
Christie’s website lists a description of the painting as “a breathtaking masterpiece of scale and wonderment, as well as the icon of Andreas Gursky’s pioneering photographic oeuvre, Rhein II, enwraps the viewer in the sheer beauty of its scene. It is one of an edition of six photographs, four of which are currently housed in major international public and private collections including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, Tate Modern, London, Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich, and Glenstone, Potomac.”
The listed price that this painting was estimated to sell for was between $2,500,00 and $3,500,000. Certainly this world record auction price has taken everyone by surprise.
There is more information on the picture as well that might have you blinking in a distant stare after you take a look at this picture. The following prose was included on Christie’s website as well describing this painting, “With its vast panorama, Rhein II invites the viewer to immerse oneself in the image, the eye being greeted by an expanse of green from both directions, left and right. The picture rapidly dissolves from a figurative landscape into an abstract composition: as Gursky has averred, “my pictures are becoming increasingly formal and abstract. A visual structure appears to dominate the real events shown in my pictures. I subjugate the real situation to my artistic concept of the picture.””
The last time an auction got a price like this was last May in 2011 when a photograph titled, “Untitled #96” by Chindy Sherman ended with an auction price of $3,890,500. The photograph was taken in 1981. With prices like these in auction it makes one wonder if there really is such a thing as a recession for the wealthy!