A photo of the Rhine river under grey skies has sold for a record $4.3m at auction in New York. Andreas Gursky’s Rhine II broke the record previously established in 1981 by Cindy Sherman’s Untitled #96, which fetched $3.8m.
Rhine II might seem to some to be a dull, uneventful image. But Gursky has described it as an allegory that looks at the meaning of life. He carefully removed elements that distracted from the bleakness. The photo is now a series of horizontal lines breaking up the sky, the river and the land.
It’s not known who bought the photo, a huge huge glass-mounted 350cm x 200cm (80in x 140in) print. But Gursky’s work has been steadily increasing in value at auction in recent years, with a number of pieces selling for well over seven figures.