Art and Design | Auctions | Photography

Last Night, This $4.3 Million Andreas Gursky Photograph Became the Most Expensive Ever Sold at Auction


"Rhein II", a photograph of the Rhine River by Andreas Gursky, was sold for $4.3 million at Christie's last night, breaking Cindy Sherman's previous record of $3.89 million, set in May.

A Roy Lichtenstein record was broken too, with a single work going for $43.2 million: "As actor Leonardo DiCaprio looked on in blue jeans and blue baseball cap, the pop artist's 'I Can See the Whole Room!... And There's Nobody in It!' helped London-based Christie's reach a total of $247.6 million."

See the Lichtenstein, AFTER THE JUMP...


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  1. You've GOT to be effing kidding me.

    Posted by: mrmnyc | Nov 9, 2011 12:31:49 PM

  2. Shoulda been an art broker. Maybe it's not too late...

    Posted by: Sean in Dallas | Nov 9, 2011 12:40:50 PM

  3. I wouldn't say that photo's worth 4.3 million dollars but I did see it in person once and I couldn't take my eyes off of it. It's deceptively hypnotic.

    Posted by: Jason | Nov 9, 2011 12:46:39 PM

  4. Occupy the arts market!

    Posted by: Diogenes | Nov 9, 2011 12:48:27 PM

  5. Both are just sublime pieces. I would love a print of either.

    Posted by: Fenrox | Nov 9, 2011 1:05:01 PM

  6. Why the mention of Leo? Is he the new owner of the Lichtenstein?

    And to say that photo isn't worth the $4.3 million...well you're obviously wrong.

    Posted by: benjamin | Nov 9, 2011 1:37:36 PM

  7. I'm with FENROX. I would love a print of both, and I'm not even that big on Lichtenstein. I'm more into artists like Condo.

    Posted by: new-new | Nov 9, 2011 1:39:30 PM

  8. For two million I will fly to Europe and take as many pictures as you like of the Rhine until I get one just like that or better. You provide the camera. Hahahaha, some rich people are so silly!

    Posted by: Good for a laugh | Nov 9, 2011 1:42:08 PM

  9. I'd like to take a pic of Leo DiCaprio in blue jeans and a blue baseball cap. I'd call it "Blue Boy" and sell it for $5million.

    Posted by: paparazzi | Nov 9, 2011 1:45:47 PM

  10. "I'd like to take a pic of Leo DiCaprio in blue jeans and a blue baseball cap. I'd call it "Blue Boy" and sell it for $5million.

    Posted by: paparazz"

    Heads-up all. If I get a pic of Leo in blue jeans and a blue baseball cap I'm selling it as "Blue Boy II" for $2.5M
    (email me your contact info ;-)

    Posted by: oliver | Nov 9, 2011 1:51:10 PM

  11. Guess I'm the artistic version of the 99%.

    Posted by: booka | Nov 9, 2011 2:40:22 PM

  12. $4.3 million could buy a lot of sharkfin soup, Leo.

    Posted by: Phineas Talbot | Nov 9, 2011 2:44:41 PM

  13. I knew everybody here would be bitching about the price, so I came in here specifically to agree.

    Posted by: Gregoire | Nov 9, 2011 3:57:04 PM

  14. The weird thing about photographs is you can make more prints, so the price of any should not get that high. Perhaps the negative is gone. What's the highest price paid for a print of a digital photography?

    Posted by: anon | Nov 9, 2011 8:25:10 PM

  15. I might understand someone paying millions for the glorified comic book panel but what is the artistic merit of that dull photo?!

    Posted by: jaragon | Nov 9, 2011 9:15:02 PM

  16. If that's worth $4.3 million, then the Towleroad banner pictures must be worth $(infinity)^2

    Posted by: ravewulf | Nov 9, 2011 9:27:24 PM

  17. Huge WIN by ravewulf.

    Posted by: Derek in Madison | Nov 9, 2011 11:14:28 PM

  18. And another loss for ethics.

    Posted by: David R. | Nov 10, 2011 2:20:46 AM

  19. That photograph is great art? It looks like he pulled up and shot it from his car. I wouldn't give you ten cents.

    Posted by: Red Katie | Nov 10, 2011 8:38:43 AM

  20. I guess their is something wrong with someone paying that much for this photo... if I had that amount of bucks, I could feed a lot of starving artist for a very long time! I recall in the early days of MAD Magazine, that they had a story about Talouse La Finkelsteine. He painted only one canvas in his lifetime and was able to sell it for $250,000. He painted it on the back of a Picaso!!!

    Posted by: Jerry Pritikin aka The Bleacher Preacher | Nov 10, 2011 3:49:33 PM

  21. While I am sure that it is a mesmerizing photograph up close and personal, it is incredulous to me that someone would pay 4.3 million for it. Further, Sotheby's is holding out against the Art Handlers Union! The auction house hired scabs to handle the art! Sotheby's is attempting to force their Art Handlers who are on strike to accept lesser pay and a reduction in benefits, all the while setting record auction sales for themselves. The Art world can be a somewhat disgusting arena of players and payers!

    Posted by: John Gaddis | Nov 11, 2011 2:13:52 AM

  22. Gursky is a genius and one of my favourites. Worth every penny.

    Posted by: Sunny | Nov 11, 2011 6:36:42 PM

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