Cindy Sherman's Untitled #96 is the World's Most Expensive Photo


Do you have a self-portrait that’s worth a fortune? American photographer Cindy Sherman sure does—her simple conceptual self-portrait from 1981!

Untitled #96 by Cindy Sherman via Pop Photo

Many are rolling their eyes and raising their eyebrows at Cindy Sherman’s “Untitled #96” for fetching a whopping price of $3.89 million, overtaking 99 Cent II Diptychon by Andreas Gursky (sold for $3.35 million). Some are even asking, is that a blushing boy or a seductively posed girl? But perhaps the biggest question would be, is it deserving of the recognition as the world’s most expensive photo?

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 was sold to Philippe Segalot, a New York dealer.

The photo’s origin is perhaps one of the reasons why “Untitled #96” fetched such a sky-high sum. According to ArtInfo, the sellers acquired the print from the time when Sherman was still establishing a market for her work. Sherman later on became known for her conceptual portraiture, working as her own make-up artist, hair stylist, director, model, and photographer.

Do you think the photo deserves the crazy multi-million price ever raised by a photo? Let us know your thoughts with a comment below!

written by plasticpopsicle on 2011-05-16 #lifestyle #vintage #photography #lomography #1981 #film-photography #analogue-lifestyle #christie-s #cindy-sherman


  1. gnarlyleech
    gnarlyleech ·

    I was surprised that was the photo. It doesn't look too spectacular, but one man's trash.....

  2. fash_on
    fash_on ·

    I'm happy that some photographers manage to make this kind of money, like most professions, photography has it's own superstars, nothing unusual about that.

  3. sthomas68
    sthomas68 ·

    Personally I just don't see it. I can think of a bunch of ways to take this same photo. Composition is good, color is good, posing is good, but not worthy of 3.89 million dollars. Somebody must owe someone else a lot of favors....

  4. sthomas68
    sthomas68 ·

    Also the patterns on the floor and the shorts are clashing for I look at the plaid, the face, or the 1970s style vinyl flooring???

  5. antibiotyx
    antibiotyx ·

    wow. who ever bought it must be an obsessed fan/collector. art auctions work in ridiculous ways, indeed.

  6. webo29
    webo29 ·

    @gnarlyleech. agreed. photo is rather awful. but it's a Cindy Sherman and that's what counts on the market I guess.

  7. beblo
    beblo ·

    It is (always) the buyer, who will dictate the real price of an art piece. And in this case, a photograph by Miss Cindy Sherman. The words of art critics may be nice to hear or most of the times, not. The press or media will say what their advertisers and sponsors want. The professional photographers have their own groups and rivalry. But the $3.89M worth of money is more authoritative, for me.

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