Earlier this week, The Financial Times published a fascinating piece on Annie Leibovitz, her ongoing financial challenges and the international market for fine-art photography in general.
As one who is just now wading into the shallow end of the fine art-photography market, I found the piece to be educational, informative and very enlightening. The gist of the article focused on the disparity in value at auction of Leibovitz's amassed body of work - work considered to be far more commercial than the images of such fine-art photography notables & top auction earners Cindy Sherman, Andreas Gurskey, Herb Ritts, Bettina Rheims ( I Yher work!), Irving Penn and others. Sherman's work, for example, has fetched lofty prices at auction, as much & more than $2 Million while Annie's best price at auction, to date, as been £31,200 but more often is the case, according the the FT article, fetching prices this year in the single-figure thousands of dollars and some to have sold as low as several hundred.
The point taken from the story is that Annie, as she readily admits, was focused on her career and a well-know & arguably the best editorial & celebrity portrait photographer of her time. In the process, she ignored the fine-art market, auction houses & dealers... that is, until her free-spending ways caught up with her.
The problem is that, as Jeffrey Boloten, a managing director of the ArtInsight consultancy in London, puts it: “You do have to play by the art market rules.” That means working closely with auction houses and galleries and doing what they tell you, from making small limited editions of your prints to signing and marketing them adeptly.
Leibovitz has failed this test, at least until she got into her current straits, and her credibility among the movers, shakers and brokers of the art world is low. “She had very little interest in the art world for most of her career,” says Edwynn Houk, a gallery owner in New York who used to represent her. “She suffered from not caring about it, not paying enough attention.”
Read more here: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/76af3c7a-dbf2-11df-af09-00144feabdc0.html
(Thanks to Rob @ APE for the find)