Visual Arts » 2D

The Über Tuber

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Last week word spread of an affluent German businessman who proved his financial prowess -- or perhaps utter lack of common sense -- when he ponied up just over $1 million for a photo of a potato.

In 2010, renowned photographer and visual artist Kevin Abosch stationed an ordinary organic tuber in front of a black background, illuminated it with a single light and shot it with a digital camera. He then mounted the print of Potato #345 on an aluminum composite. Now five years later, this solitary spud is in the spotlight -- for its price tag.

The picture’s purchase was brokered in 2015 in a deal sealed over the course of dinner and glasses of wine between the two men. (Apparently several glasses of wine.) But Abosch just announced the transaction to the press last week. Meanwhile, the proud new owner of the root vegetable print remains anonymous.

The photo is one of three others that the 46-year-old Irish photographer produced. He keeps one in a private collection at his home in Paris, and he donated the other to a Serbian art museum.

The sale makes his the 15th most expensive photograph ever sold.(Others in the are-you-kidding? category of insanely expensive pics include Rhein II by Andreas Gursky that went for $4,338,500 and Untitled #96 that sold for $3,890,500, to name a couple.)

World-famous portrait photographer Kevin Abosch sees something of the human condition in potatoes. In this spud in particular he also sees an enormous profit. -
  • World-famous portrait photographer Kevin Abosch sees something of the human condition in potatoes. In this spud in particular he also sees an enormous profit.

Abosch, who shares his time in Dublin and Paris, made a name for himself with his portrait photography of celebrity subjects such as Steven Spielberg, Jonny Depp and Yoko Ono, as well as famous folks such as Malala Yousafzai, the young Pakistani activist, and Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg. His commissioned pieces usually run from $280,000 to $500,000, and they, too, share his well-known stark, silhouetted style.

Check out this slideshow from CBS News for a look at some of Abosch's other pricey portraits.

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