Cindy Sherman's 'Orange Sweater' photograph to break world record?

A photograph by Cindy Sherman titled Unknown #96 is set for Christie's auction of post-war and contemporary art on May 8.

The photograph comes from the Akron Art Museum, which is selling the piece in an effort to raise funds for further art purchases.


cindy sherman unknown 96 orange sweater
Cindy Sherman's Unknown #96

Though it can be controversial for institutions to sell their pieces, the Akron is following the guidelines of the Association of Art Museum Directors, which states that museums should only sell pieces from their collections if they intend to use the proceeds to bring new works.

Mitchell Kahan, the museum's director told "What's the greater community benefit, keeping the 'Orange Sweater' and showing it once every five years, or having a few more million dollars generating money in perpetuity to buy more works of art?"

Sherman is regarded as one of the most important female artists of her generation. She is known for her self-portrait photographs where she alters her appearance, and ultimately identity, with various different clothes, props, make-up, hair styles, settings and lighting.

The market for Sherman's photographs is booming. Just two weeks ago her Untitled Film Still #21 achieved $746,500, surpassing its high estimate of $200,000 by 273%.

Another print of Unknown #96 became the most valuable photograph in the world in May 2011, when it sold at auction for $3.89m. That record was beaten in November 2011 when Rhein II by Andreas Gursky made $4.33m.

Considering the booming market for Sherman's photography, it's likely that the Akron Art Museum printing of Unknown #96 will achieve more than the previous $3.89m figure, and could even surpass Gurksy's record. 


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