Image Courtesy: Chiiz

Have you ever had a thought of the most expensive photographs sold on this planet? Have you ever thought of the amount at which these photographs might have been sold at an auction? Thoughts are always left in the minds of photographers who have sold their photographs for an unbelievable amount. That makes them one of the most expensive photographs sold ever. 

Without any doubt, almost every discipline of photography has seen successful selling of photographs at a really astonishing amount. However, in today’s blog post, we will be talking about the most expensive photos that were sold under the photography category of fine art. 

Fine art photography is one of the strangest and dynamic markets that showcase rapid changes quickly. Even though, most of the time, people consider buying these photographs at a reasonable amount. However, sometimes photographers are themselves amazed at their photographs being sold at unbelievable prices

In a general case scenario, the price of photographs is generally not determined by the photographers who captured it, however, the selling price of that photograph is determined by the people who purchased it. Paintings and photographs can fetch millions and millions of dollars. Buyers even pay big bucks to own a photograph. 

These beautiful photographs are based on their abilities as well as their beautiful mind creations.  With the amount of hard work put in by these photographers, they create completely extraordinary photographs. Most importantly, Andreas Gursky, one of the famous german photographers, has got 3 of his photographs in The list of Most expensive photographs sold. 

#11. Kevin Abosch- Potato #345 (2010) – $1,000,000

Image Courtesy: Kevin Abosch

Let us start with one of the most expensive photographs sold in the world. Standing at the eleventh position, we have an exclusive photograph of a Potato sold at $1,000,000. The photographer Kevin Abosch charges a huge number of fees for shooting portraits of popular business personalities.  Specifically from the Silicon Valley tech industry. 

The photograph might look like an ordinary potato. But being a fine art photographer, Kevin Abosch with all his experience and photography skills, he captured every minor detail of the surface of a regular potato. Being a fine art photographer, that’s how he came up with the idea of capturing a Potato. This photograph was captured in the year 2010 and was sold at an unbelievable price in the year 2015.

#10. Edward Steichen- The Pond- Moonlight(1904) – $2,928,000 

Image Courtesy: Edward Steichen

The Pond – Moonlight by Edward Steichen is the 10th most expensive photograph sold at a price of $2,928,000. This image showcases the moonrise in a pond that was created in 1904 at Mamaroneck, New York. The photographer created this picture near the home of one of his friends who was an art critic, Mr. Charles Caffin. In February 2006, this incredible picture was sold to an unbelievable amount as stated above.

We can see in the picture of a forest and a pond wherein the reflection of the moon is piercing over the horizon in between the gap of the trees. Edward Steichen created this amazing and beautiful piece by applying manual light-sensitive gums and giving out the final print in multiple colors and not just one color. 

#9. Untitled Film Still #48 (1979) – Cindy Sherman- $2,965,000

Image Courtesy: Cindy Sherman

The Untitled Film Still #48 by Cindy Sherman is the 9th most expensive photograph sold among other expensive photographs at a price of $2,965,000. This image showcases a woman who is standing on the side road while a suitcase is beside her. On the 13th of May 2015, this incredible picture was sold to a stunning amount as stated above. 

We can easily see from the picture wherein a girl is facing away from the lens of the camera as well as she is also dressed in a skirt and sneakers giving a particular type of innocent schoolgirl look. While purchasing this picture viewers had numerous questions based on the used deep contrast and overall dark theme of this picture. 

#8. Untitled(Cowboy) (2000) – Richard Prince- $3,077,000

Image Courtesy: Richard Prince

The Untitled (Cowboy) by Richard Prince is the 8th most expensive photograph sold for $3,077,000. This image showcases a cowboy riding on a horse amid sand dunes. On the 14th of May 2014, this incredible picture was sold to a stunning amount as stated above. 

The reality behind this photograph is it is a photograph of a picture. The artist had created this art form to shape his own creative style and photography skills. People generally referred to such photographs as photography. 

In an unfortunate incident, the “Marlboro Man” seen in the above picture was taken off from an open advertisement in Times magazine.  The original photographer had literally sued the artist for using a copyrighted image of him. However, according to the court’s decision, the judges provided the judgment in favor of the artist Richard Prince. 

#7. Chicago Board of Trade III (1999-2000)– Andreas Gursky- $3,298,755

Image Courtesy: Andreas Gursky

The Chicago Board of Trade III (1999-2000) by Andreas Gursky is the 7th most expensive photograph sold at a price of $3,298,755. This image showcases a full bunch of brokers moving around while working on their systems from the pit. On the 26th of June 2013, this incredible picture was sold for an impressive amount as stated above. 

This is a chromogenic color print created by Andreas Gursky. This image was captured by Andreas Gursky at the Board of Trade in Chicago, Illinois, The United States of America in the year 1999. We can see in the picture wherein, brokers wearing bright-colored jackets moving around. 

The photographer took the picture while looking down into the pit. Digital editing techniques were used by Andreas Gursky in order to layer the multiple occurring exposures of the image. He planned to create a blurred kind of look showcasing the movements of the brokers. 

#6. 99 Cent II Diptychon(2001) – Andreas Gursky- $3,346,456

Image Courtesy: Andreas Gursky

The 99 Cent II Diptychon (2001) by Andreas Gursky is the 6th most expensive photograph sold at a price of $3,346,456. This image showcases a supermarket store stocked with grocery and other essential consumable items. In February 2007, this incredible picture was sold in London for an astounding amount as stated above. 

This is again a chromogenic color print created by Andreas Gursky. He styled this picture as a diptych. As we saw above, without any doubt, Andreas Gursky is a spectacular artist and photographer having such unbelievable and unimaginable selling records. If we talk about how large the picture is, then it’s really huge. It stands 6 feet wide and 11 feet wide. 

This is a picture of a 99 cent store in Los Angeles. Colorful packaging and half-symmetrical lines were used by Andreas Gursky in order to create such an expansive eye-catching image.

#5. Dead Troops talk- Jeff Wall- $3,666,500

Image Courtesy: Jeff Wall

The Dead Troops Talk by Jeff Wall is the 5th most expensive photograph sold at a price of $3,666,500. This image showcases a heartbreaking scene of dead troops talking to each other in a 2nd world scenario. On May 8, 2012, this incredible picture was sold in Christie’s New York for a dazzling amount as stated above. 

The image has been officially named as Dead Troops Talk (A vision after an ambush of a Red Army patrol, near Moqor, Afghanistan, winter 1986) (1992). We can see that this picture is a staged image and has been stitched together digitally and electronically. Jeff Wall shot the troops in a studio and then embedded it together in an outdoor landscape electronically. The photo is transparent in the lightbox.

#4. To Her Majesty (1973) – Gilbert & George- $3,765,276

Image Courtesy: Gilbert & George

The To Her Majesty (1973) by Gilbert & George is the 4th most expensive photograph sold at a price of $3,765,276. This image showcases a gelatin silver print. On June 30, 2008, this incredible picture was sold in Christie’s London for a sensational amount as stated above. 

Gilbert & George is a very famous and renowned British artist. This is a collective work done by Gilbert Prousch and George Passmore. They are popularly known as Gilbert & George. 

#3. Untitled #96 (1981) – Cindy Sherman- $3,890,500

Image Courtesy: Cindy Sherman

And now the eagerness increases to know the top 3 most expensive photographs sold. Surprisingly, a small hint, all the top three spots have been grabbed by the same artists from this list. 

The Untitled #96 (1981) by Cindy Sherman is the 3rd most expensive photograph sold at a price of $3,890,500. This image showcases a self-portrait of the young times of Cindy Sherman. In May 2011, this incredible picture was sold in Christie’s New York for an awesome amount as stated above.

This beautiful image is a self-portrait which features Cindy Sherman herself during her young times. She can be seen lying on the floor, focusing away from the camera wearing retro style clothing. Cindy Sherman has provided a lofty overtone with the dark and light orange colors from her clothes. She took this picture in 1981, eventually getting sold in the year 2011. 

#2. Spiritual America(1981) – Richard Prince- $3,973,000

Image Courtesy:  Richard Prince

Spiritual America (1981) by Richard Prince is the 2nd most expensive photograph sold at a price of $3,973,000. This image showcases the nudity of a small child. On May 12, 2014, this incredible picture was sold in Christie’s New York for a majestic amount as stated above.

In the image, we can see a 10-year-old girl naked in her bathroom while posing for the photograph. Indeed, lots of controversies were raised due to this picture showcasing nudity. The child posing in the picture is an American actress and model Brooke Shields.

Some artists from the world of art did not accept the nudity of a child shown in such a manner. In addition to this, the photo was also removed from the Tate Modern Exhibition after providing a strict warning from the law enforcement authorities. 

#1. Rhein II (1999) – Andreas Gursky- $4,338,500

Image Courtesy: Andreas Gursky

And finally, we come to the point where we see the top most expensive photograph ever sold.  Amazingly, the topmost position is also grabbed by a very famous, experienced, renowned, and 65-year-old reputed German photographer. He already has grabbed the 6th and the 7th position from The list of most expensive photographs sold. 

Rhein II (1999) by Andreas Gursky is the 1st most expensive photograph sold at a price of $4,338,500. This image showcases the Lower Rhine River. On November 8, 2011, this incredible photograph was sold in Christie’s New York for a splendid and unbelievable amount as stated above.

The Lower Rhine River flowing across the green lushes and fields can be seen in the image captured by Andreas Gursky. An overcast sky is adding a great natural effect of gray and dull tone. This is again a chromogenic color print created by Andreas Gursky. 


These artists are having a great piece of talent in them. The continuous motivation, hard work, and dedication of these artists help them to achieve such dreaming steps. We should never forget the amount of hard work and time these artists would have spent in creating just a single photograph. 

Artists in every background have done a lot of respected work and have gained huge amounts of respect. We can see that photographs captured by these artists have been sold after years of capturing it which means patience is the key to their success, and we should learn a lot from them. 

If you are new to photography, master it by attending various live online workshops regularly by us on our Events Website. Also, head to our Blog for more such tips and tricks about photography. You can subscribe to our digital magazine through Magzter or Issuu to delve into more organized and well-furnished photography content. And if you think you have learned a lot and you want to give it a check, then, proceed to our Contests content, participate there and win astounding prizes.

We hope you got to know a lot about The list of Most expensive photographs sold ever. Do share your experience in the comment box & stay tuned with us through our Facebook & our Instagram Chiiz, Instagram Events, Instagram Contests pages.

About The Author

Nishad Kinhikar, is a 21-years-old budding engineer, passionate world citizen, and a youthful individual looking to innovate and inspire all with his sweet words. “Aiming to Bring the change, one step at a time,” he quoted.
Instagram: @nishadkinhikar4


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