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Cindy Sherman’s 1981 Photo “Untitled #96″ – Most Expensive Art Photo

Most Expensive Art Photo - Cindy Sherman’s 1981 Photo "Untitled #96"
Cindy Sherman’s 1981 Photo “Untitled #96”

At Christie’s contemporary art auction in New York, Cindy Sherman’s 1981 self-portrait Untitled #96 sold to New York dealer Philippe Segalot for a whopping $3.89 million, making it the most expensive photograph ever purchased. Christie’s confirmed that this was a record for a photograph at auction, previously held by Andreas Gursky’s 99 Cent II Diptychon, which fetched $3.35 million in February 2007.

The multi-million dollar print is part of Sherman’s edition of photos from 1981, and features the artist in a seemingly androgynous appearance and a predominant orange color scheme. She is reclining seductively while clutching what appears to be a crumpled newspaper clipping. The photo’s origin is perhaps one of the reasons why Untitled #96 fetched such a sky-high sum. The sellers acquired the print from the time when Sherman was still establishing a market for her work.

Best known for her series Untitled Film Stills, Cindy Sherman is a woman of many faces. She appears in most of her own work, but uses costume and make-up to depict anonymous women. Born in New Jersey in 1954, Cindy Sherman doesn’t consider art as a profession until after high school when she attends Buffalo State University. Frustrated by the limitations of painting, she switches to photography during her freshman year.

Sherman has been awarded the Guild Hall Academy of the Arts Lifetime Achievement Award for Visual Arts, American Academy of Arts and Sciences Award and the Jewish Museum’s Man Ray Award.  Last year, Sherman’s Untitled #153, featuring her as a mudcaked corpse, was sold for $2.7 million. [ArtInfo]

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