This photograph of a potato was sold for €1 million (AU$1.5 million) to a European businessman in 2015. Taken in 2010, Potato #345 is a simple portrait of an Irish spud created by the famous celebrity photographer Kevin Abosch.
The celebrated 46-year-old Irish visual artist confirmed that the businessman saw it while dining at Abosch’s Paris home. According to the photographer, the inspiration for taking a potato’s pictures comes from the commonalities between humans and potatoes.
“We had two glasses of wine and he said, ‘I really like that’. Two more glasses of wine and he said: I really want that,” Abosch said. “We set the price two weeks later. It is the most I have been paid for a piece of work that has been bought [rather than commissioned].”
Abosch sees humans as individuals within a collective species. Apparently, the potato is a proxy for the human experience as the life of a potato is violent and often taken for granted just like a person’s life.
The photograph of the potato sits alongside pictures of Steven Spielberg, Michael Palin, Sheryl Sandberg and Malala Yousafzai in the photographer’s coveted portfolio. Abosch usually charges $500,000 (AU$709,864) for each image of a famous person.
There are three pictures of the potato: one in a private collection, another was donated to an art museum in Serbia, and the third was sold to an unnamed businessman. His other works have been featured in magazines around the globe such as Vogue.
Public figures from the modelling, tech, and entertainment industries have been going after Abosch for years. Included in the permanent collection of the National Gallery of Ireland in 2013 were three photos of the artist among which was a photograph of the Irish singer and activist, Bob Geldof.
Nobel Peace Prize laureates Malala Yousafzai and Aung Sang Suu Kyi were also among the photographer’s clients. Abosch also collaborated with Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales and Facebooks’ Sheryl Sandberg in the artist’s work called “Faces: Tech series” in 2011.
Abosch’s photograph is just one of the other creations that has been sold for millions of dollars. The “Rhein II” by Andreas Gursky was sold at $4.3 million (AU$ 6.1 million) and the “Phantom” was sold at $6.5 million (AU$9.2 million). Potato #345 would be the 15th most expensive photo ever sold once the sale price is verified.