Another world record for a “photograph” was set when a Jeff Koons’ 1981 Duratrans transparency and light box, “The New Jeff Koons”, sold for a rather sobering $9.4 million over an estimate of “only” $2.5-$3.5 million.
The sale dethrones Andreas Gursky’s late 2011auction record for his three-meter wide photograph of the Rhine River, which then sold for $4.3 million. It also dethroned Christie’s auction house, as Sotheby’s regained the world auction record for a photograph after last having held it in late 2007 for Richard Prince’s Untitled Cowboy (Marlboro Man) at $3.4 million.
The material that the transparency is made from is not thought to be very archival. Its usual use was for advertising signage.
One further observation, with the addition of the Koons’ transparency, Sotheby’s contemporary art department sold nearly $13.3 million in photography alone on only 53 lots, although the buy-in percentage was a relatively high 37.74%.
(fra E-Photo Newsletter #198, June 30, 2013, I Photo Central website at http://www.iphotocentral.com)