Photograph of a Truly Impressive Potato Sells for $1.5 Million at a Dinner

The buyer may not have been sober.

Kevin Abosch, Potato #345 (2010). Photo: Kevin Abosch.

As the contemporary art market continues to soar, so too does the market for photography—even for an image of something as commonplace as a humble potato.

The Sunday Morning Herald reports that photographer Kevin Abosch recently sold an image of an organic Irish spud for a cool £750,000 (approximately $1 million) in a story that’s every bit as strange as you might imagine.

Kevin Abosch. Photo: @kevinabosch via Twitter.

Kevin Abosch.
Photo: @kevinabosch via Twitter.

Abosch, who is best known for his portraits of celebrities like Sinéad O’Connor, Johnny Depp, and Yoko Ono, was having dinner in his home with an unnamed European businessman, who decided he was absolutely smitten with the 2010 photograph Potato #345, which was hanging on Abosch’s wall.

“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  recalls to the Morning Herald. “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].”

While Abosch’s commissioned photos typically sell for a healthy £200,000 ($285,450), Potato #354 is clearly an anomaly.

However, it’s worth noting that because it was a privately brokered sale between the artist and an unnamed collector, there’s no real way of verifying the price.

The whole thing is a bit reminiscent of Peter Lik, the photographer who made headlines in 2014 for allegedly selling a photo for $6.5 million. Unfortunately for Lik, who sells his work out of 15 eponymous galleries that he owns himself, the New York Times quickly exposed the number as most likely false based on Lik’s relatively small auction record.

This isn’t to say, of course, that the sale didn’t happen—after all, collectors have bought way more extravagant things under the influence. Anyone remember Hugh Grant’s drunken $2 million Warhol purchase, for example?

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