Guy Ray’s ‘Le Violon d’Ingres’ will become the most costly photo ever bought at auction

Barbara Merkley

Penned by Toyin Owoseje, CNN

This story was up-to-date with the closing sale cost and other facts next the auction.

Guy Ray’s famed “Le Violon d’Ingres” created background Saturday when it turned the most costly photograph ever to market at auction.

The black and white picture, taken in 1924 by the American surrealist artist, transforms a woman’s bare human body into a violin by overlaying the picture of her back with f-holes.

The unique print of the masterpiece, broadly deemed to be Guy Ray’s most renowned perform, offered for $12.4 million, smashing sale estimates. Prior to the sale, it was anticipated to fetch among $5-7 million, the greatest estimate for a solitary photograph in auction record, according to Christie’s, which offered the get the job done.

Ray, born Emmanuel Radnitzky, lived from 1890 to 1976. He was a critical member of the Dada and Surrealism movements and his “Le Violon d’Ingres” was the best whole lot to be presented from the assortment of Rosalind Gersten Jacobs and Melvin Jacobs, retail executives and art collectors who experienced ties to Surrealist circles.

According to Christie’s, the New York few acquired the piece from Ray back in 1962. It would be bought together with other artworks, pictures, jewellery, and posters, from their art collection amassed around many years.

Jacobs, a previous chairman and CEO of Saks Fifth Avenue, died in 1993 at the age of 67. His wife Rosalind Gersten Jacobs, a longtime Macy’s executive, died in 2019 at the age of 94. The couple’s daughter and the executor of their estate, Peggy Jacobs Bader, explained in a statement prior to the sale that each individual piece from the selection “has a one of a kind and personal story at the rear of it” and displays the “joyful spirit of my parents’ connection.”

Just before the auction, Darius Himes, international head of images at Christie’s, experienced named the photo “just one of the most iconic performs of the 20th century,” in a assertion. “This beguiling Surrealist graphic is the consequence of a distinctive and hand-manipulated darkroom process.”

He extra: “The attain and affect of the picture, at after intimate, mysterious, roguish, and playful, has captured the minds of all for just about 100 many years. As a photographic do the job, it is unprecedented in the market.”

Other standout parts made available at the New York auction involved Vija Celmins’ Mars, which went for $1.26 million.

In advance of the sale, the auction record for the most pricey photograph experienced been held by Andreas Gursky’s “Rhine II,” which was offered by Christie’s for $4.3 million in 2011.

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