The iconic photo The Violin of Ingres by photographer Man Ray was auctioned last weekend for a record price of $12.4 million. That happened at Christie’s auction house in New York. Never before has so much money been put down for a photo.
The auctioned photo is an early print from a private collection. The photo from 1924 shows Man Ray’s then girlfriend, the French singer Kiki de Montparnasse. She can be seen as a violin, with two f-holes on her naked back. It became one of the most famous images of surrealism.
The proceeds significantly exceeded expectations: it is estimated that the work would bring in five to seven million dollars. The most expensive photo to date was Rhine IIa photo of German Andreas Gursky who was hammered for $4.3 million in 2011.
A week ago, a record amount was paid for a portrait of American actress Marilyn Monroe, made by pop art artist Andy Warhol. It’s about the silkscreen Shot Sage Blue Marilyn.
The proceeds were $170 million, the highest amount ever paid at auction for a work of art from the last century. Monroe’s portrait is also the most expensive American work to ever go under the hammer. With auction costs added, the total amount came to 184 million.