The Most Expensive Photograph Ever Purchased
Iconic photographer Cindy Sherman's 'Untitled #96' became the most expensive print ever purchased at a Christies auction last week.
Cindy Sherman’s ‘Untitled #96’ is one in a series of ten photographs originally commissioned, but never used, by Artforum magazine back in 1981. In this still, the artist took a photo of herself in dismay as a 30-something single woman sprawled out on a linoleum kitchen floor clutching a personal ad. Last week, Art dealer Philippe Segalot purchased Cindy Sherman’s “Untitled #96” for $3.89 million at a Christie’s auction in New York City. Sherman’s work has been critically acclaimed for questioning the role of women in society. Some argue the stills this photo-series call attention to the stereotyping of women in films, television and magazines.
New York Times Art Critic Grace Gluek describes the photo’s cultural significance:
In 1981 Cindy Sherman took off on men’s magazine centerfolds in a series of photographic double spreads initially commissioned — but not used by — the magazine Artforum. Close-cropped and close up, they portray this multi-self-portraitist in various roles, from a sultry seductress to a frightened, vulnerable victim.
The mood of each of these life-size storytelling pictures is charged, not only by Ms. Sherman’s poses, expressions, clothes and wigs but also by the use of gels that cast the images in colors appropriate to their narratives. A sort of kitschy orange suffuses ”Untitled No. 96,” in which Ms. Sherman lies dreamily on a linoleum floor in a sweater and skirt, a thirty-something single clutching a ”Personals” ad torn from a newspaper.