In the year of the NFT record holder, it will be Man Ray

In the market for collectibles, 2021 was an average year: the highlights of ancient photography are rare, as are contemporary photographers. For values ​​in Italy, simply remove a zero

In the year of the NFT record holder, it will be Man Ray

In four months, the NFTs have generated an auction turnover of $ 127.6 million, double the total number generated by photography, and with only 100 sold NFT against 6,500 photographs!Good times, when photography was first the news of museums and then galleries and auction houses, and the achievement of certain values ​​deserved the title of the front page, even in the annual reports of «Artprice».

Today, the good old photographic print touches on the fate of great art, and she, the daughter of modernity and progress, is also overtaken by today’s insanely accelerated ways and times of the latest discovery of technology transformed into art. But photography, as we know, has an enormous adaptability and has adapted to the role of great art and has also found its frontmanThe Philadelphia ray man who came to Paris in 1921 to show the world what could be done with (or without) a camera in the age of light.

Already the holder of the record for a historical photo (“Noire et Blanche” from 1926 sold a few years ago in Paris for more than $ 3 million), Man Ray is on his way to the absolute record expected in May, in an auction of the same house, where a “Violon d’Ingres” valued between 5 and 7 million. Meanwhile, in any case, the controversial sale of the Lucien Treillard collection in Paris in early March (questionably challenged by the Man Ray Trust for the sake of the legitimacy of ownership) confirmed the author’s excellent health condition with the magnificent series of ‘Erotique voilée’ », Which has six times the valuation of over 300 thousand euros, and in general raises all the initial estimates significantly.

When waiting for the fireworks, a retrospective look at 2021 therefore says of a year that could be defined as normal, without particular peaks, but also without dramatic declines: less sparkling compared to other segments, but also protected from the speculative risks of sudden rises and much more painful descents. The most impressive figure remains the one and a half million that William Henry Fox Talbot reached (which we gave fresh news about in last year’s annual report), but we must consider the absolute exceptionality of the object in question, which can hardly function as a benchmark and which once again confirms the state of old photography, increasingly divided between average prices, which are not very high and tend to be stable and rare peaks, reached only on exceptional occasions.

The case with modern photography is different, thanks to its blending with the market for contemporary art lectern continues to highlight important figures for writers belonging to this dual mercantile universe: Cindy Sherman conquers the top by 2.7 million euros, followed by the inevitable “Cowboy” by Richard Prince of 2.6 million, and by an excellent Barbara Kruger with one of her classic pieces (“Your Manias Become Science”, a very apt title in recent months and years), which just exceeds one million.

He keeps Gursky with a little over half a million (but record times seem distant), David Wojnarowicz surprisingly shows up at over 400 thousand (market mysteries, fascinating author, but until recently known by few fans, and all in all still today certainly not particularly famous), while on the modern classic side, a “Violon d’Ingres” printed in the 1950s and reached 400,000 and Lee Miller, who leads the recovery of women also in the market, deserves to be mentioned, a little over the number of his mentor (to understand the taste fluctuations, on the other hand, it’s enough to go back to the Treillard sale and see how all the photographs with Lee Miller have far exceeded the original estimate).

Similar situation in Italy, provided, of course, that at least one zero is removed from the figures in question. Holding Ghirri with just over 23,000 euros from Finarte for a classic “Alpe di Siusi” (which started from a unique base of 1,500-2,000), Paolo Ventura and Andrea Galvani appear among the new generations (but always within the ambiguous boundaries between photography ) and contemporary art), however, there is no indication of a change of pace in the local market, which continues to lack works of international importance and institutional or financial investors.

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