Say cheese! Iconic Einstein tongue photo is up for auction
Rare version shows the two people who were cropped out of the famous picture.
There are many photos of Einstein, but few are as iconic as the one with him sticking out his tongue.
This iconic photo of Einstein was taken on his 72nd birthday, March 14, 1951, by United Press International newswire photographer Art Sasse. After a birthday celebration, Einstein was mobbed by photographers and reporters as he made his way into a friend's car to return home to Princeton. Tired of smiling all day, Einstein instead stuck his tongue out.
The original photo shows Einstein sitting in between Dr. Frank Aydelotte, the former head of the Institute for Advanced Study, and his wife. When Einstein saw the photo in the newspaper the following day, he asked the photographer to crop out the other two people and send him nine prints. Einstein autographed those and sent them to friends. One of them was was sold at auction in 2015 for $125,000.
But it's an even rarer version of the photo that will be auctioned off tomorrow. Los Angeles-based Nate D. Sanders Auctions will be selling an autographed copy of the photo that shows all three people in the car. Minimum bids start at $100,000.
"Can you imagine, Einstein himself recognized the PR value and the power of that image and symbolism of that tongue sticking out," Robert Livingston of RR Auction told From The Grapevine. "To see the most famous image of Einstein autographed by him. It's just an amazing story and an amazing photo."
The famous picture lives on beyond the photo paper it was printed on. British sculptor Adam Sheldon turned it into an 8-foot mosaic using toast.
Another British artist fashioned it into a cake ...
And a baker from Istanbul recently won an international cake decorating competition for her rendition ...
Einstein bequeathed his papers to Hebrew University in Jerusalem, which is home to the official Albert Einstein archives. But items belonging to other people, like this autographed photo, are often sold to collectors.
Six decades after his death, Einstein memorabilia continues to flood the marketplace. In 2015, a batch of Einstein's letters fetched $420,000 at auction. Back in October, we reported on a letter that Einstein wrote to his son that was auctioned for about $100,000. A letter written by Einstein about his theory of relativity was auctioned off earlier this year. Perhaps the renewed interest in Einstein objects is, in part, due to a National Geographic TV series about the beloved genius. An auction that coincided with the show's finale last month netted $210,000. One of the items was purchased by Uri Geller, an Israeli mentalist and close friend of Michael Jackson.
"The interest in Einstein does not fade into history," Hanoch Gutfreund of the Einstein archives told From The Grapevine. "If one can say anything about this, the interest in Einstein increases with time. It's greater now."
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Related Topics: Albert Einstein