In the year of the NFT record will be Man Ray

In the collectibles market, 2021 was a mean year: Peaks of vintage photography are rare, which is what contemporary photographic artists hold. For values ​​in Italy, just remove the zero


In four months, NFTs generated auction sales of $127.6 million, twice the total output of photography, and sold only 100 NFTs for 6,500 photos!Good times, when photography was the novelty of first museums and then galleries and auction houses, and the achievement of certain values ​​earned the title on the first page, even in the annual reports of «Artprice».

Today, good old photo printing touches the fate of the main art, the daughter of modernity and progress, transcended, moreover, by the insanely accelerated ways and times of the present, by the latest discovery of technology turned into art. But photography, as we know, has tremendous adaptability, adapted to the main role of art, and also found confrontation leaderthe Philadelphia Ray man who came to Paris in 1921 to show the world what can be done (or without) a camera in the age of light.

Already the record holder for the historical picture (“Noire et Blanche” from 1926 sold a few years ago in Paris for more than $3 million), Man Ray is heading for the absolute record expected for the month of May, at auction in the same house, where he will be hit ” Violon d’Ingres” worth between 5 and 7 million. In the meantime, however, the controversial sale of the Lucien Treillard Collection in Paris in early March (which was fiercely contested by the Man Ray Trust on grounds of legality of ownership) confirmed the excellent health of the author’s market. The “Erotique voilée” series has a valuation of six times over €300,000, and generally raises all initial estimates significantly.

Fireworks await, then, a retrospective look at 2021 suggests a year that can be defined as normal, without certain highs but also without dramatic lows: less sparkly when compared to other sectors, but also shielded from the speculative risks of a sudden rise and more ratios agonizing. The most impressive figure remains the one and a half million reached by William Henry Fox Talbot (which we gave new news about in last year’s annual report), but we must take into account the absolute exception of the object in question, which can hardly be a Standard Which once again confirms the case for ancient photography, which is increasingly divided between prizes that are not particularly high averages and which tend to be steady and rare peaks, accessed only on extraordinary occasions.

The state of contemporary photography is different, thanks to its mixing with the contemporary art market Court touts It continues to highlight the VIPs of authors belonging to this dual commercial universe: Cindy Sherman beats the top with 2.7 million euros, followed by the inevitable “Cowboy” of Richard Prince with 2.6 million, and the excellent Barbara Krueger with one of her classic pieces (“Your Obsession Becomes a Science”, a very apt title in recent months and years) which exceeds one million.

It holds Gursky with a little over half a million (but record times seem far off), David Wojnarowicz surprisingly appears in over 400K (market mysteries, great author, but until recently was known only to a handful of fans, and still even Today (certainly not very popular), while on the neoclassical side, “Violon d’Ingres” was printed in the 1950s and reached 400 thousand, Lee Miller deserves to be mentioned leading the revival of women also in the market, slightly outpacing his mentor (to understand The vagaries of taste, on the other hand, suffice to go back to the Treillard sale, and see how all the photographs in which Lee Miller appears have by far exceeded the initial estimate).

A similar situation in Italy, provided, of course, that at least one zero is removed from the numbers in question. Carried by Ghirri with just over €23,000 Finarte for the classic “Alpe di Siusi” (starting from a single base from 1500-2000), Paolo Ventura and Andrea Galvani emerge among the new generations (but always in the murky frontier between photography and art). Contemporary), but there is no sign of a change in the pace of the domestic market, which still lacks internationally significant business and institutional or financial investors.

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