William Eggleston in the age of mechanical reproduction

In his seminal ‘The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction’ (1936), Walter Benjamin writes:

To an ever greater degree the work of art reproduced becomes the work of art designed for reproducibility. From a photographic negative, for example, one can make any number of prints; to ask for the “authentic” print makes no sense.

Or does it? The recent judgment of the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York implies that some reproductions of William Eggleston‘s iconic photographs may now be categorized as original reproductions.

Will the ‘authentic’ reproductions now become more valuable? If so, they will have to exceed the price of the 36 new prints auctioned last month which approached a combined sale value of six million dollars, the most expensive lot selling for $578,500.

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