Man Ray’s “Le Violon d’Ingres” Set to Become Most Expensive Photograph Ever

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Perhaps a bit of a palette cleanser after the Beeple haul last year, but Man Ray’s famous “Le Violon d’Ingres” is probably going to be the single most expensive photograph ever sold when it comes up at Christie’s in May.

assorted paintings on white painted wall
Photo by Dannie Jing

CNN estimates that the photograph could fetch between $USD 5-7 million which would make it the single most expensive photograph ever.

The image, of a woman’s back with a violin superimposed on her back, is considered the pinnacle of surrealist 1924 American photographer Man Ray. The photograph comes from the collection of Rosalind Gersten Jacobs and Melvin Jacobs, retail moguls who reportedly had deep ties to the Dada and Surrealism communities, CNN reports.

“This beguiling Surrealist image is the result of a unique and hand-manipulated darkroom process. …The reach and influence of the image, at once romantic, mysterious, roguish, and playful, has captured the minds of all for nearly 100 years. As a photographic work, it is unprecedented in the marketplace,” commented Darius Himes, head of international head of photographs at Christie's.

In a world where digital NFTs are fetching eye-watering sums, it’s good to see that traditional photography still rakes in some money albeit well after the artist’s death. Man Ray wasn’t only a photographer, either, but primarily considered himself a painter while working also with collages, film, and assemblage. Man Ray’s works tend to employ multiple techniques and it’s pretty hard to miss the surrealism in some of them. As far as the whole of his work goes, “Le Violon d’Ingres” is pretty mild in this regard but also so far ahead for its time that the price reflects that.

If you’ve got any thoughts on the work of artist Man Ray, let us know in the comments below.

We’ve got some other photography news on Light Stalking at this link right here.

[CNN]

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Kehl is our staff photography news writer and has over a decade of experience in online media and publishing and you can get to know him better here

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