Issue #181  5/31/2011
Cindy Sherman Self-Portrait Sets World Record For Photograph At Christie's, Bringing $3,890,500

The 1981 self-portrait taken by celebrated photographer Cindy Sherman was sold at a Christie's New York's contemporary auction this May. The sale surpassed Christie's estimates of $1.5-2 million ringing in at a final price of $3,890,500, including premium. That is not only a record for the photographer, but also the highest price ever realized for a photograph.

The buyer was reportedly New York dealer Philippe Segalot, a former head of contemporary art for Christie's and now a private art consultant, who purchased the Sherman for a client.

The image was the cover of one of Sherman's books, but is not considered by many observers to be a particularly important work by Sherman.

The price took the title away of "Most Expensive Photograph at Auction" from Richard Prince. Richard Prince's Marlboro Man (Untitled, Cowboy) sold at Sotheby's, NY's November 14, 2007 Contemporary Art Evening Sale for $3,401,000. That beat the record for a photograph at auction previously held by Andreas Gursky's 99-cent diptych of $3,346,456, which had been set at Sotheby's London on February 7, 2007. It also beat Edward Steichen's Pond--Moonlight, which still holds the record for a non-contemporary photograph at $2,928,000.