d’Ingres” (Ingres’s Violin). The print was estimated to fetch between five and seven million dollars. However, it has exceeded all expectations and reached around two times the estimate. The iconic photo was sold for $12.4 million, which is an absolute record. This makes it the most expensive photo ever to be sold at an auction.
“Le Violon d’Ingres” shows the model’s bareback with black f-holes painted on them, suggesting her body as a musical instrument. It is, without a doubt, one of the most iconic photos of the early 20th century. So, it’s probably no surprise that there was quite a battle to buy its print. As ART News reports, a drawn-out bidding period for this print lasted nearly 10 minutes during Christie’s New York auction dedicated to Surrealist art.
Man Ray took the photo in 1924, and his model was Alice Ernestine Prin. In the artistic circles, she was better known as Kiki de Montparnasse, the model, a performer, and a muse to many artists. Apparently, Man Ray was one of them, and the two even had a romantic relationship between 1921 and 1929. To take this photo, Man Raw painted the f-holes onto the photographic print, and then rephotographed the print. André Breton published the image in the final issue of his literary journal Littérature (June 1924).
After reaching its whopping $12.4 million price, “Le Violon d’Ingres” broke the previous Christe’s record for the most expensive prints ever sold. It was Andreas Gursky’s 1999 landscape Rhein II, sold at Christie’s in 2011 for $4.3 million. This particular print is rare, and it’s considered an original photographic copy, ART News explains. “It was made around the time its corresponding negative was first produced, making it valuable in the eyes of photography experts.”
[via ART News]