Peter Lik's Phantom photograph becomes world's most valuable

Peter Lik's Phantom has become the world's most valuable photograph after it made $6.5m in a private sale on December 9.

The work surpassed the former record holder, Andreas Gursky's Rhein II, which sold for $4.3m at Christie's New York in 2011, by 51.1%.

Peter Lik Wiki
Peter Lik is a prolific Australian photographer

The sale also included two other pieces which sold for $1.1m and $2.4m, resulting in a total of $10m.

While Peter Lik is not a household name, you're likely to be much more familiar with his work then you think. His distinctive landscapes are often used as screensavers.

He also stars in his own NBC TV series - The Edge with Peter Lik.

Reactions to the sale have been mixed. The Guardian newspaper went with the scathing: "Someone has been very foolish with their money, mistaking the picturesque for high art.

"If this is the most valuable 'fine art photograph' in history, God help fine art photography. For this hollow and overblown creation exposes the illusion that lures us all, when we're having a good day with a good camera - the fantasy that taking a picture is the same thing as making a work of art."

Others were more prosaic, if less entertaining.

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