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Colossal prices paid for Kenyan wildlife photographs

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Beard’s photographs of African wildlife have been widely shown and published since the 1970s.

Three striking wildlife photographs by the renowned American-Kenyan photographer Peter Beard fetched a total of $725000 (about R10.7million) at a recent Christie’s New York photography auction, which in total produced sales of more than $6m to again endorse the increasing value of photography as art form.

The works by Beard that excited bidders were:

* World-class Black Rhino, Aberdare Forest which fetched $250000.

* Large Tusker, Tsavo North fetched $225000.

* Orphaned Cheetah Cubs, Mweiga, Kenya went for $250000.

Beard’s photographs of African wildlife have been widely shown and published since the 1970s.

He was born in 1938 as a New York aristocrat, heir to a railroad and tobacco fortune.

Inspired by trips to Africa in 1955 and 1960 as a student, he travelled to Kenya after graduation, and while working at Tsavo National Park, photographed and wrote about the demise of 35000 elephants and other wildlife. The plight of the animals became the subject of his first book, The End of the Game.

He bought a property adjacent to the coffee farm owned by Out of Africa’s Karen Blixen, which became his home base in Africa.

The top price fetched for any photo at the Christie’s auction was for Helmut Newton’s Panoramic Nude Woman with Gun, Villa d’Este, Como, which sold for $399000. – Auctions Writer

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