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Andreas Gursky, Rhein II (1/6) Andreas Gursky, Rhein II (1/6)

From The Online Photographers post yesterday, this was too good to not share (thanks to Dana for sending it along to me).

"We have a new winner in the "$12 Million Shark Sweepstakes." In a smack down of the piker owner of the paltry $3.89 million Cindy Sherman picture that held the record for mere months (since May), a German collector sold one of six copies of Andreas Gursky's 1999 work "Rhein II" at Christie's yesterday for $4,338,500 (including buyer's premium).

And by the way, it's a Photoshopped pic—there were elements in the scene Gursky didn't like, so, in his words, "I decided to digitalize the pictures and leave out the elements that bothered me."* (A. Gursky quoted in A. Ltgens, "Shrines and Ornaments: A Look into the Display Cabinet," Andreas Gursky: Fotografien 1994–1998, p. xvi). "Like the painter, Gursky constructs his composition, removing all small arbitrary details interrupting his clean horizon." (Peter Galassi, MoMA.)

It's now the most expensive photograph ever. Of course, the clock is ticking—for how many months will this record last? Be afraid, Herr G., be very afraid....

—Mike, who's definitely in the wrong end of this business (Thanks to Howard French)"

Can I just say there is something to be said for a digital, photoshopped, unarchival image setting the record for highest price ever paid for a photograph? Imagine what a photo that would last more than 50 years would bring in!

The comments were hilarious, here are a few of my favorites:

Featured Comment by Jenny: "The level to which I don't understand things has been brought to a record height."

Featured Comment by Will Whitaker: "Gursky who?? Nevermind.