Christie’s Hopes to Shatter a 10 years-Aged Photography Document With This Key Guy Ray Lot. This is What Would make It Special

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Last 7 days, Christie’s New York introduced it would provide a exceptional Person Ray photograph from the estate of New York style executives Melvin Jacobs and Rosalind Gersten Jacobs in a are living, one-proprietor sale in May perhaps.

The photograph is a seductive graphic of a nude Kiki de Montparnasse, the French bohemian product whose hourglass figure Man Ray decorated with f-markings, like a violin. The work’s naughty title, which translates to “Ingres’s Violin,” is a French expression this means “hobby”: a reference each to neoclassical painter Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres’s penchant for the string instrument, and the reality that Montparnasse (who was Ray’s mistress) was a very similar pastime for him.

The headline-producing news is the work’s estimate. At a whopping $5 million to $7 million, it is the greatest at any time rate envisioned for a one photograph at auction. If attained, it will shatter the standing auction history for a photograph, which was established at Christie’s in 2011 when a 1999 river check out by Andreas Gursky bought for $4.3 million.

Will anybody be willing to pony up for the Dadaist masterpiece? We took a journey into our individual darkish room—Artnet’s Price tag Database—to verify out what is been creating in the surrealist artist’s market of late.


The Context

Auction record: $5.9 million, established at Sotheby’s New York in November 2013

Guy Ray’s Efficiency in 2021

Tons offered: 394

Purchased in: 85

Provide-by price: 82.2 per cent

Typical sale cost: $25,629

Mean estimate: $11,049

Whole sales: $10,097,858

Prime painting cost: $197,116 

Cheapest portray value: $13,200

Least expensive over-all selling price: $88 for a sculptural edition of his legendary readymade function The Gift, part of an version of 5,000

© 2022 Artnet Worldwide Corporation.

© 2022 Artnet Worldwide Corporation.

  1. Crash Course. Guy Ray’s auction history was set in 2013, when an oil painting entitled Promenade marketed for $5.9 million. The next 12 months, a record 525 plenty were presented for sale, but 34 percent unsuccessful to uncover buyers. Complete product sales peaked in 2017 at $14.6 million (with $11.5 million accounted for by the top rated 10 loads). In 2018, sales plummeted extra than 70 p.c, and have been bit by bit recovering since. By 2021, the current market was approaching heights previous seen in 2012.
  2. Demand for Portray. Even though Gentleman Ray is ideal recognized for his pioneering experiments with images, his maximum selling prices have traditionally been realized for paintings. Although 14 of his works have offered for additional than $1 million, just a few of these had been achieved by pictures. Barring a person sculptural assemblage, the relaxation were being paintings. 
  3. Most Seductive Tons. The top price for a Man Ray photograph was reached at Christie’s Paris in 2017, when a gelatin silver print of a single of Person Ray’s best recognised photographs from 1926 fetched $3.1 million. The legendary Noire et Blanche depicted Kiki de Montparnasse posed with an African mask. Developments amongst his other major-accomplishing pictures incorporate similarly seductive designs from the bohemian established, solitary editions, or people with specific interventions this sort of as hand coloring.
  4. Declining fascination. Curiosity in Guy Ray has been on the decrease in current several years, with just 3,688 end users exploring for the artist through Artnet’s Value Databases in 2021, marking a 44.7 per cent drop off considering that 2019.
  5. Area for surprise. Inspite of this, Gentleman Ray’s next-greatest final result at auction was achieved in 2020, when $5.8 million was invested on a 1915 oil portray titled Black Widow (Nativity). Details also indicates the industry was to some degree undervalued in 2021, with 69 per cent of a lot marketing for more than their substantial estimate. Interestingly, the market’s functionality in 2021 was pushed a lot more by volume than an availability of trophy plenty. Unlike in former sector booms for Man Ray, the prime 10 loads accounted for just 24.9 per cent of full profits.


Bottom Line

Le Violon d’Ingres is one of the Surrealist’s very best-recognized illustrations or photos, and has been reproduced in printed editions, some of which are on see in the Centre Pompidou and the Getty in Los Angeles. One particular of them (section of an version of eight) sold at Christie’s New York in April 2021 for $475,000.

But this specific photograph has a whole lot likely for it to justify the high presale estimate. Initial, it has excellent provenance, getting been in the exact same assortment since the artist marketed it to Jacobs in 1962. Next, in preserving with the highest-executing images, this graphic was taken care of by the artist, who added the violin’s f-markings manually in the darkish space. At last, the art world’s growing appetite for Surrealism—with a blockbuster demonstrate at the Achieved and Tate Modern this yr, and a surrealist bent to Cecilia Aleman’s 2022 Venice Biennale—could make the best established up for data to tumble this spring.

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