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Most expensive photograph by David Wojnarowicz sold at Bonhams New York
Untitled (Buffaloes). Image courtesy of the Estate of David Wojnarowicz and P.P.O.W.

NEW YORK, NY.- On October 28, Bonhams New York set a new world record for works by David Wojnarowicz at the Fine Photographs auction held in the Madison Avenue galleries. The photographer’s oversized gelatin print, Untitled (Buffaloes), 1988-89, sold for $125,000, more than 4 times the pre-sale high estimate. As soon as the photograph went on the block, enthusiastic bidding ensued between two people in the auction room and one bidding by telephone- the energetic persistence led to a rapid increase in the price of the photograph in a matter of seconds. The winning bid went to a private collector, bidding in the auction room.

Untitled (Buffaloes) was taken by the photographer between 1988 and 1989, around the time the world was first reacting to the AIDS crisis and when Wojnarowicz himself was diagnosed with the disease – this work became one of his most haunting images of protest. The work depicts buffaloes, usually sturdy animals, stampeding and tossing themselves off the edge of a cliff. Wojnarowicz drew a parallel between the near extinction of buffaloes in the 19th century in the United States, and the AIDS crisis that the American government was then struggling to deal with effectively.

The auction experienced very strong online bidding, and most of the participants came from the United States, a considerable number from the UK and some from France. On her sale’s success, Judith Eurich, Vice President and Director of Photographs said, “We were very pleased with the enthusiastic response to the material offered and the solid sales result.”

The next sale of photographs will be The Art of Fashion Photography, which will be held on December 17, later this year.

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