Sotheby's Cindy Sherman photograph beats estimate by 273%

An iconic work by US photographer Cindy Sherman has smashed its estimate at Sotheby's.

The 1978 piece Untitled Film Still #21 sold for $746,500 in New York on March 9, surpassing its $200,000 top-end estimate by 273%.

The 8 x 10 inch photograph depicts Sherman, widely regarded as one of the most important female artists of her generation, as a 1970s businesswoman in the midst of the city.

The work is number one from an edition of 10.

Many others in the series reside with major galleries and institutions, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

The print, signed "City Girl" on its reverse by Sherman, was gifted by the artist to a collector who helped organise her breakthrough exhibition in 1984.

The still has resided in the same collection ever since, accumulating significantly in value.

Cindy Sherman photograph
Sherman's Untitled Film Still #21 made $746,500

Across town the previous evening, one of Sherman's unsettling clown works also performed well.

Untitled #426 sold for $446,500 at a major photograph auction, comfortably towards the high-end of its $300,000-500,000 pre-sale valuation.

The work is number five from an edition of six, further evidence of the importance that rarity plays in collectible photographs of all types.

It has been a strong few months for the Sherman market. In May 2011 her Untitled #96 work from 1981 made $3.89m at Christie's, becoming the most valuable photograph in the world in the process.

Sherman has since lost the top spot, however. In November 2011, Rhein II by Russian photographer Andreas Gursky sold for $4.33m at a Christie's auction in New York.

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