Top 10: Photography Sales in 2012
10) Adreas Gursky’s “Jumeirah Palm” - $375,930
Executed in 2008, Gursky’s “Jumeirah Palm” alternates between minute detail and geometric abstraction. It sold at Christie’s in London in October.
9) Hiroshi Sugimoto’s “Tyrrhenian Sea” - $446,500
Sugimoto’s “Tyrrhenian Sea” sold at Christie’s New York in December. It is believed to possess an understated clarity and quietness typical of the artist’s work.
8) Andreas Gursky’s “James Bond Island I” - $713,250
Sold at Sotheby’s in February, this 2007 limited edition print was number 5 of a limited run of 6.
7) Alfred Stieglitz’s “Georgia O Keefe – Hands and Thimble” - $770,500
Probably printed in the early 1920s or 30s, this framed, ex-Guggenheim exhibit sold at Sotheby’s in December.
6) Cindy Sherman’s “Untitled #91” - $842,500
Signed and dated 1981 and numbered 6/10 on a label affixed to the reverse, this chromogenic print features Sherman in repose, dressed as a young girl. Part of a series in which Sherman shot herself in a range of poses and guises, it sold at Sotheby’s in May.
5) Richard Prince’s “Untitled (Cowboy)” - $842,500
The image of the cowboy has become inseparable from ideas of Americana. An iconic, yet peculiarly mobile symbol; Prince’s cowboys are depicted along with their horses, bathed in misty, morning light. This mounted print sold at Christie’s New York in November.
4) Man Ray (1890-1978) - $844,463
An influential figure in both the Dadaist and Surrealist movements, Man Ray also worked as a fashion photographer for Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue. This abstracted portrait sold at Christie’s in Paris in November and exhibits a compositional amalgamation of tropes familiar to art and fashion photography.
3)Man Ray’s “Rayograph with Hand, Lens and Egg” - $866,500
Numbered “32” in pencil on the reverse, the image (predictably) features a hand, a lens and an egg. It sold at Sotheby’s in December.
2) Laszlo Moholy-Nagy’s Fotogramm & Herbert Bayer's "Lonely Metropolitan" - $1,482,500
The Maholy-Nagy image, which is inscribed “fotogramm” and “original” in red pencil and crayon, features a partially inversed, outstretched hand. It sold individually, alongside Bayer's iconic "Lonely Metropolitan", at Sotheby’s in December.
1) Jeff Wall’s “Dead Troops Talk (A vision after an ambush of a Red Army patrol, near Moqor, Afghanistan, winter 1986)” - $3,666,500
Wall’s monumental photograph appears to depict Russian war-dead rising. Explaining its inception, Wall explained, “I had a sudden notion of a dialogue of the dead, coming from I don’t know where.” It sold at Christie’s in May, becoming the third most valuable photograph in the world.
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