The 10 most expensive photos of all times


On a daily basis, I come across photos that I like and that I would ascribe a high monetary value. I reflect upon how difficult it must have been to capture the motive, how gorgeous the photo turned out or how groundbreaking the idea behind it or the underlying message is. At the art market, criteria that I am unable to understand seem to be in effect. Among the top 10 of the most expensive photos are self portraits, boring, poorly lit and large-formatted depressing motives and a few historical pictures. Except for the latter, a photographer would never dream of any photo to ever be so expensive. But see for yourselves:


#1 Rhein II – Andreas Gursky (1999) $4.3 Mio.


#2 Untitled #96 – Cindy Sherman (1981) $3.9 Mio.


#3 For Her Majesty – Gilbert & George (1973) $3.7 Mio.


#4 Dead Troops Talk – Jeff Wall (1992) $3.7 Mio.


#5 Untitled (Cowboy) – Richard Prince (2001-02) $3.4 Mio.


#6 99 Cent II, Diptychon – Andreas Gursky (2001) $3.3 Mio.


#7 Los – Angeles – Andreas Gursky (1998) $2.9 Mio.


#8 The Pond/Moonlight – Edward Steichen (1904) $2.9 million


#9 Untitled #153 – Cindy Sherman (1985) $2.7 Mio.


#10 Billy the Kid – Unknown (1880) $2.3 Mio.

Of these ten photos, I like the Cowboy, Billy the Kid and The Pond/Moonlight very much. Three out of ten is not so bad. Am I no philistine, after all? 😉

How do you like the 10 most expensive photos?

  1. […] his work “Rhine II” at an auction in 2011. This would make “Phantom” the number one on the list of the ten most expensive photographs of all time, if, instead  of being sold directly to a collector, it had been auctioned off like all the other […]


  2. […] Peter Lik is said to have sold to a private collector for $6.4m. Looking at this photo as well as many others that have achieved record sums at art auctions, one cannot but shake one’s head in disbelief. […]


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