Man Ray’s ‘Le Violon d’Ingres’ Achieves $12.4 Million

Christie’s Spring 2022 Marquee Week continued Saturday, May 14 with The Surrealist World of Rosalind Gersten Jacobs & Melvin Jacobs at Rockefeller Plaza in New York. The sale totaled $42.3 million, bringing the week’s running total to $1.4 billion. Man Ray’s photograph Le Violon d’Ingres set a new record for a photograph, selling for $12.4 million, after more than 10 minutes of competitive bidding. Results were exceptional across all categories of the sale, selling 99% by value and 92% by lot, 182% hammer above the low estimate.

Records were set for a number of artists including Dorothea Tanning, whose Le mal oublié tripled its estimate to sell for $1,440,000. William Nelson Copley and Noma Copley achieved successful results in the categories of both art and jewelry. Seven of the 77 lots on offer sold above $1 million, including four fantastic examples by Rene Magritte including L’autre son de cloche, which far surpassed its high estimate to sell for $10,122,500.

Man Ray’s 'Le Violon d’Ingres' Achieves $12.4 Million

Darius Himes, Christie’s International Head of Photographs, remarked, “Photography has been the invention and medium quietly underpinning and influencing much of the art and popular culture of the 20th century. Surrealism as an artistic movement has seeped into our consciousness, and no work more so than Man Ray’s Le Violon d’Ingres from 1924.

Man Ray’s 'Le Violon d’Ingres' Achieves $12.4 Million

Long seen as an icon of 20th-century art, this purely photographic work is truly unrivaled, and, appearing on the market for the very first time in its history, has now smashed all records for any photographic piece at auction, vintage or contemporary, as well as all Man Ray auction records in any medium. And why not? Man Ray, and this piece, in particular, stands comfortably within the pantheon of other giants of 20th-century art.”


Christie’s, the world's leading art business, had auction sales in the first half of 2019 that totalled £2.2 billion / $2.8 billion. Christie’s is a name and place that speaks of extraordinary art, unparalleled service and international expertise. Christie’s offers around 350 auctions annually in over 80 categories, including all areas of fine and decorative arts, jewellery, photographs, collectables, wine, and more. Prices range from $200 to over $100 million. Christie's also has a long and successful history conducting private sales for its clients in all categories, with emphasis on Post-War & Contemporary, Impressionist & Modern, Old Masters and Jewellery.