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A19th Century Photo sails away to a World Record

After the record-breaking price paid in Vienna just a few weeks ago for a rare Leica no. 7, the auction world has announced that yet another world record has been broken. This time it is for a 19th-century photograph of a beautifully composed seascape by Gustave Le Gray.

A fierce bidding war erupted at Rouillac's photography auction last Saturday in Vendome, France between a US bidder, a French bidder and another from an unspecified oil-producing state. The hammer went down at  €917,000 ($1,305,000), including the buyer's premium to the Houston oil magnate.

One of the most important photographers of the 19th century and a great traveler, Le Gray started making daguerrotypes in 1847. By 1855 he was Napoleon III's  photographer, while producing his most famous images of seascapes.  Four prints exist of the image, "Bateaux Quittant le Port du Havre" ("Boats Leaving the Port of Le Havre"), which dates from 1856 or 1857. It measures roughly 12 by 16 inches and is an albumen print.

The full auction results can be found here. If you have any of the other three prints, drop me a line ...

 

Photo:  Gustave Le Gray's "Bateaux Quittant le Port du Havre" (1856-57).

 

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