Man Ray Sets New Photography Record Price at $12.4m

MAN RAY (1890–1976) Le Violon d'Ingres, 1924

A Man Ray photograph ‘Le Violon d’Ingres’ has set a new record price for a photograph at auction, selling for $12.4 million. After more than 10 minutes of competitive bidding, the lot was sold at Christie’s New York showroom. The results were exceptional across all sale categories, dealing 99% by value and 92% by lot, 182% hammer above the low estimate—Christie’s Spring 2022.

Photography has been quietly underpinning and influencing art for many years

Marquee Week continued Saturday, May 14, with The Surrealist World of Rosalind Gersten Jacobs & Melvin Jacobs at Rockefeller Plaza in New York. The sale totalled $42.3 million, bringing the week’s running total to $1.4 billion.

Records were set for several artists, including Dorothea Tanning, whose Le mal oublié tripled its estimate to sell for $1,440,000. In addition, William Nelson Copley and Noma Copley achieved successful results in both art and jewellery categories. Seven of the 77 lots on offer sold above $1 million, including four fantastic examples by Rene Magritte, including L’autre son de cloche, which surpassed its high estimate to sell for $10,122,500.

Darius Himes, Christie’s International Head of Photographs, remarked, “Photography has been the invention and medium quietly underpinning and influencing much of the art and popular culture of the 20th century. As a result, surrealism as an artistic movement has seeped into our consciousness, and no work more so than Man Ray’s Le Violon d’Ingres from 1924. Long seen as an icon of 20th-century art, this purely photographic work is truly unrivalled and, appearing on the market for the very first time in its history, has now smashed all records for any photographic piece at auction, vintage or contemporary, as well as all Man Ray auction records in any medium. And why not? In particular, Man Ray, and this piece stands comfortably within the pantheon of other giants of 20th-century art.”

Man Ray (born Emmanuel Radnitzky; August 27, 1890 – November 18, 1976) was an American visual artist who spent most of his career in Paris. He was a significant contributor to the Dada and Surrealist movements, although his ties to each were informal. He produced major works in various media but considered himself a painter above all. He was best known for his pioneering Photography, and he was a renowned fashion and portrait photographer. Man Ray is also noted for his work with photograms, which he called “rayographs” in reference to himself.

Top Photo: Man Ray, Le Violon d’Ingres, 1924. Price realized: $12,412,500. © Christie’s Images Ltd 2022.T

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