Is this photo of the Rhine River on a cloudy day worth more than $4.3 million? One well-to-do collector seems to think so.
The image, which captures the silvery river, planked on either side by lush green grass under an overcast sky, became the world’s priciest picture on Tuesday when it was auctioned at Christie’s for a price of $4,338,500.
“Rhein II” was created in 1999 by famed German artist Andreas Gursky, who’s known for his large, colorful and richly detailed photographs. The 81- x 140-inch print greatly exceeded Christie’s expectations — the picture was only estimated to sell for between $2.5 and $3.5 million (mere pennies, people). It also broke the previous record set by Cindy Sherman’s “Untitled #9,” which sold for $3.89 million in May.
While NewsFeed was initially aghast that such a dreary photo could sell for an exorbitant price — seriously, the sky isn’t even a nice, cheery shade of blue! — after much discussion and at least five minutes staring into that metallic river, we’re beginning to understand it a little more.
If you can get past the picture’s outrageous price-tag to actually experience it, you might see that it’s pretty brilliant after all. Although, we must admit that we prefer this version much more.
PHOTOS: Those Things Money Can Buy