pounds 379,000 - the costliest photo in the world

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MAN RAY'S renowned image of his mistress holding an African mask was sold for a record pounds 379,000 yesterday - the highest price paid for any single photographic work at auction.

The 1926 Noire et Blanche, depicting the Surrealist painter and performer Kiki of Montparnasse, was first published in French Vogue. Yesterday it formed part of the first single-owner sale of photographs to be held at Christie's, New York, which fetched a total of pounds 1.2m. Noire et Blanche is best known by its positive version alone - shown above. Matching pairs of vintage prints of the positive and negative images, such as the pair sold yesterday, are considered extremely rare.

Two other record prices - for images by Margaret Bourke-White and Berenice Abbot - were established at the sale from Barry Friedman's photographic collection.

Clare Garner