"Potato #345" was reportedly sold for €1 million over dinner
Photo was taken by Kevin Abosch, acclaimed Irish visual artist
Spud joins Yoko Ono, Malala Yousafzai and Sheryl Sandberg as subjects of the artist
If verified, the print will become the 15th most expensive photo ever sold
What’s more lucrative than Johnny Depp or Yoko Ono? A photogenic potato, at least for renowned celebrity photographer Kevin Abosch. His “Potato #345” – a simple portrait of an organic Irish spud – reportedly sold for €1 million ($1.08 million) last year to a European businessman, who saw it while dining at Abosch’s Paris home.
The 46-year-old Irish visual artist – who typically charges up to $500,000 for portraits of famous figures – revealed earlier this month that the sale, brokered over a few glasses of wine, was the biggest of his career.
Spud you like
In 2010, Abosch made three prints of the now-famous tuber: one hangs in his private collection, the other was donated to a museum in Serbia, and the third was sold. But why shoot the humble spud?
“I see commonalities between humans and potatoes that speak to our relationship as individuals within a collective species,” says Abosch.
“Generally, the life of a harvested potato is violent and taken for granted. I use the potato as a proxy for the ontological study of the human experience.”
Hall of fame
Models, tech giants and actors have all turned to Abosch for portraits over the years.
A photograph of Bob Geldof, the Irish singer and activist, was among three by the artist that joined the National Gallery of Ireland’s permanent collection in 2013.
Abosch has also shot Nobel Peace Prize laureates Malala Yousafzai and Aung Sang Suu Kyi. And in 2011, for his Faces:Tech series, he worked with Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales and Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg, among other tech entrepreneurs.
Chips are down
If the sale price is verified, it will make “Potato #345” the 15th most expensive photo ever sold.
The current record holder for the most expensive photograph ever sold is “Rhein II” by Andreas Gursky, which fetched US$4.3 million at a Christie’s auction in 2011.
In 2014, photographer Peter Lik claimed that his “Phantom” had surpassed that record, “officially making art history” by selling for US$6.5 million.
That record, however, was not verified, and the alleged buyer was never named.