You have got to be JOKING!

This photo sold at Christie’s for – I am not making this up …

$4,338,500!

Lot Description

ANDREAS GURSKY (B. 1955)
Rhein II
signed ‘Andreas Gursky’ (on a paper label affixed to the backing board)
chromogenic color print face-mounted to Plexiglas
image: 73 x 143 in. (185.4 x 363.5 cm.)
overall: 81 x 151a x 2 in. (207 x 385.5 x 6.2 cm.)
Executed in 1999. This work is number one from an edition of six.

Other works from this edition are in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich; Tate Modern, London and the Glenstone Collection, Potomac.

UPDATE:

I am auctioning this photo.

Bidding begins at $1,000,000.

UPDATE:

The bidding is now up to $1,000,000.50!

It is also possible simply to give me money, which is pretty much the same as buying the photo.

Here.  I’ll make it easier.


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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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43 Responses to You have got to be JOKING!

  1. Geoffrey says:

    $4,338,500?! Where’s my camera?!

  2. nemo says:

    It looks like a view of a retention pond at Ave Maria U.

  3. Ok, I live in Alaska… I can take photos with… umm… actual “stuff” in them.

    I promise I will sell them ALL for less than $50,000 a piece.

    Wow… I can’t believe it. There has GOT to be a story behind this… like the camera used was made of marshmallows, or the lens was created by crushing Cap’n'Crunch to create a Cereal-glass compound…. right? …. RIGHT?

  4. Supertradmum says:

    One of my brothers took at similar shot and it is hanging in our attic, as he was going to throw it away.

  5. ray from mn says:

    Some people have waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too much money.

  6. Kerry says:

    And said aloud, “$4,338,500!”, it reads, “Four million, three hundred thirty-eight thousand, five hundred factorial”. Not worth a penny over $4,338,499.95, factorial. Besides, I’ve “already got one. Eeet’s very nice! (Factorial.)”

  7. BV says:

    I am going to remove all my photos from my Flickr account, hoping nobody downloaded any, and make a fortune!

    I once took a picture of grass when I was in Kentucky, because it was not blue, but green just like everyone else’s. I could have made millions off that scandal alone!!!

  8. Using the ‘price of mcdonalds’ website I am informed that in Washington a Big Mac is currently $2.33 (although I have no idea if this is right or not). If it is correct then that one picture could buy 1862017 people on the street a Big mac (and still have a little change left over (of course feeding 1862017 big mac’s to the population might create other issues but that is not the point). “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat…” etc. Or we could spend it on a rather dull picture of.. um.. not a lot really.

    Sorry all, Rant over
    LF

  9. Hidden One says:

    The picture may have been cheap, but that’s one expensive signature.

  10. APX says:

    If that’s worth that much, then surely to goodness the photo I took in Oregon while literally driving along the highway in Columbia Gorge with the cool cloud/sun effect going on must be worth twice that.

  11. Jon says:

    Say…I’ve got a couple of pics I took of some Minnesota priest eating fries and drinking beer…

    I’ve been sitting on a gold mine!

  12. B.C.M. says:

    A picture is worth 1 000 words.
    This picture is worth 44 338 500 dollars
    _______________________________
    1 000 words is worth 4 338 500 dollars.

    I wonder what my undergrad thesis would fetch me?

  13. Christine says:

    Wow. What a waste of money.

  14. APX says:

    Hmm, I guess we don’t see the artistic merit or significance of this pieces. There’s a British guy making commentary on this magnificent piece of art. http://www.christies.com/LotFinder/Francis%20Outred,%20International%20Director,%20Head%20of%20Europe%20in%20Post-War%20and%20Contemporary%20Art%20discusses%20Andreas%20Gursky's%20Rhein%20II

  15. ContraMundum says:

    Wow! It’s a picture of Bigfoot riding on the Loch Ness Monster!

  16. Charles E Flynn says:

    The work of Andreas Gursky cannot be appreciated by viewing tiny reproductions in jpeg format on a computer monitor. Once you have seen one of his works in person, you have a basis for guessing what another might look like on the basis of its reproduction. The original prints look nothing like a magnification of a jpeg. Some of the originals occupy most of your field of vision when seen in person.

  17. Mary Ann says:

    Even worse…I read it was sold for over 43 million.

  18. tzard says:

    I think the first thoughts blog has an interesting take:

    http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2011/11/10/the-world%e2%80%99s-most-expensive-photograph-is-very-straight-and-slightly-overpriced/

    Don’t let yourself be manipulated by more “subversive” “art” – because the financial transaction is part of the message.

  19. AnnAsher says:

    Oh! I need to start making prints of my iPhone scenery pictures and making million$ !

  20. JohnE says:

    This is clearly a piece of art only the most refined and wealthy of people can appreciate. I find myself mocking it, yet at the same time mesmerized and strangely compelled to flush paper currency down the toilet.

  21. Mary Jane says:

    Wow…if that’s photography, everyone’s a photographer!! I ran across some guy’s website awhile back – apparently he makes art out of leaves and sticks he finds on the ground during his morning walks. His “art” pieces sell for thousands of dollars (and I’m talking like an art frame on the wall with some leaves in it)…

    Crazy what “art” is coming to.

  22. irishgirl says:

    Over FOUR MILLION for THAT?
    It’s just a picture of a body of water with grass all around!
    This is ART?
    The world is going totally insane…..
    Dear Lord, PLEASE come soon!

  23. disco says:

    Maybe when you shine a black light over the photo it reveals the combination to the hidden safe where the illuminati keeps the davinci code.

  24. wanda says:

    Wow. Looks like lots of photos taken from car windows. Fr. Z., you should market your feeder feed photos!

  25. irishgirl says:

    ‘I am auctioning this photo’ [skyline of Manhattan on an autumn day]. ‘Bidding begins at $1,000,000.00′-Father Z.
    Nearly LOL’d in the library! Ha! Love it!

  26. BV says:

    What makes Father Z’s Manahattan Skyline photo so valuable is that there is a male Cardinal perched atop the Chrysler Bulding antenna. Look VERY VERY CLOSELY!!!

    I up the bid to $1,000,000.50

  27. sawdustmick says:

    Father, you have missed a trick here. You should have placed a donate button below your pic !

  28. catholicmidwest says:

    They could have gotten the same picture WITH James Blunt for free on youtube. See? Look. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oofSnsGkops Okay, so they might have to turn on mute, but that’s easy and free too!

  29. Sam Schmitt says:

    If ritzy museums like MoMA and the Tate have it, it must be worth a lot of money!

  30. pm125 says:

    Suspicious of white collar crime …

  31. Charles E Flynn says:

    We need a poll to see how many people went to the Christie’s page and used the zoom feature, and how many found the man-made structure in the image.

  32. RickMK says:

    This is almost as silly as people paying thousands of dollars for a famous person’s autograph.

  33. Will D. says:

    I rather like the photo. I like the contrast between the greens and the greys, the contrasting textures of the river and the clouds, and I like the composition. It is beautiful.
    I’d love to have a print of it, but, no, I wouldn’t pay 7 figures for it even if I could.

  34. BV says:

    If you go to Christie’s and zoom you will also see that there is quite a bit of litter in the grass.

  35. pseudomodo says:

    In the notes on the Christies Website it reads:

    “PROPERTY OF A DISTINGUISHED PRIVATE GERMAN COLLECTOR ”

    Obviously this was sold to as an investment in the bailout loan for Greece… – or maybe Italy… or maybe some other country…

  36. BV says:

    Maybe it goes to Obama’s re-election campaign.

  37. Augustin57 says:

    Fr. Z, you want that $1,000,000 in small, unmarked bills? Or do you take credit cards? (Just kidding, of course.)

    :)

  38. Augustin57: Small, unmarked bills are my preferred method. But I can take credits cards. I can even take credit cards with my iPhone now!

  39. Michael Floyd says:

    Hey, you could say yours is the “after” picture!

  40. contrarian says:

    Back before I was married, my roomies and I had a huge Gursky print in our apartment. The guy’s stuff is truly remarkable.

    But four million bucks remarkable? Not so much.

    Then again, I’m just about to go to a baseball blog and add my two cents to a comment thread about what Reyes should get per year playing a game. Much more than four million a year, I’ll say that.

    Sigh.

  41. orthros says:

    BV: With the state the Church is in these days, I’m surprised that there aren’t several Cardinals up there having to be restrained.

  42. ContraMundum says:

    I’m thinking this might look really profound to someone who has just taken a hit of LSD, assuming he was not too distracted by the lava lamp.

    For someone whose drug is coffee, on the other hand … not so much!

  43. Denita says:

    I can take livlier pictures than that..and than make a painting of it, and probably STILL not get any money