What are the most expensive paintings ever sold? Let’s find out in this post.
The arts and culture are among the few areas in the society in which individuals can meet to share an experience even if their worldview and outlook are radically different.
Art encourages us to place great value on intuition, uncertainty as well as creativity. It also pushes to constantly search for new ideas as artists strive to break the rules and discover unorthodox ways of dealing with contemporary issues.
Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi currently holds the title of the highest price ever paid for a painting when it was sold in November 2017 for approximately $450 million. Here are the 10 most expensive paintings ever sold.
Note: All the costs of paintings in this article are in US dollar.
Top 10 Most Expensive Paintings Ever Sold
Salvator Mundi by Leonardo Da Vinci ($ 450.3M)
This piece of art was painted in the 1500s by Leonardo da Vinci. It has enjoyed massive popularity due to its authenticity.
There is no consensus opinion in the art world concerning whether it was made by da Vinci himself or one of his skilled students. Nevertheless, “Salvator Mundi” fetched a whopping $450 million in 2017 at a Christie’s auction.
The painting was bought by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud, who is the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, through his Minister of Culture. It was due for display at the Louvre Abu Dhabi but was cancelled later on.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the rumours say it’s being held up on a Saudi prince’s yacht and reserved to be displayed at Saudi’s very own future cultural centre in Al Ula.
Interchange by Willem De Kooning ($300M)
“Interchange” was painted by Willem de Kooning, a Dutch-American abstract painter. The piece was among his first abstract landscape works. It was sold to CEO of hedge fund Citadel Kenneth Griffin for $300 million In September 2015 and is currently at the Art Institute of Chicago on loan. In addition to “Interchange”, Griffin, according to reports, has also acquired a Jackson Pollock art piece.
The Card Players by Paul Cezanne (Estimated Cost: $250 – $300M)
Paul Cezanne made “The Card Players” when he was the most acclaimed. The piece of art was bought in 2011 by the Royal Family of Qatar.
Four other pieces have the same title; however, they are placed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Courtauld the Barnes Foundation as well as the Musée d’Orsay.
Nafea Faa Ipoipo by Paul Gaugain (Approx. $300M)
“Nafea Faa Ipoipo” was created by Paul Gaugain in post-impressionist 1892. The interesting painting translates to “When will you marry.”
It was sold in 2014 to Qatar’s royal family at roughly $300 million. The piece features two women from Tahiti, in which Paul spent some time.
‘Number 17a’ by Jackson Pollock ($200M)
Rated among the most famous abstract expressionist painters of all time, Jackson Pollock’s Number 17a was purchased as part of a deal with the David Geffen Foundation as well as Kenneth Griffin, Interchange’s buyer.
The total deal gulped a hefty $500 million.
‘No 6 – Violet Green and Red’ by Mark Rothko ($186M)
This work of art was painted in 1951 by renowned Russian-American abstract expressionist Mark Rothko. No picture is necessary for you to envision the painting since the title tells the whole story.
It was acquired for $186M by Dmitry Rybolovlev, a Russian billionaire, from Yves Bouvier. Bouvier later encountered trouble in a series of international lawsuits owing to misrepresentation of the works and subsequently overcharging them. “No 6 – Violet Green and Red” sold to Rybolev was originally purchased at almost half the price, and Yves Bouvier pocketed the difference.
“Wasserschlangen Ii” by Gustav Klimt ($170M)
Coming right up is Wasserschlangen, which translates to “water serpents”. The artwork was made by the famous Austrian painter, Gustav Klimt. The piece features a number of gold leaf elements.
Wasserschlange was one of the paintings sold to Dmitry Rybolovlev by Yves Bouvier. According to reports, Rybolev also owned the Salvator Mundi, which is the world’s most expensive painting. The Wasserschlangen initially belonged to a Viennese silk factory owner. However, it was later confiscated by the Nazis and then finally to Gustav Ucicky, who is Gustav’s alleged illegitimate child, before eventually being sold.
Pendant Portraits Of Maerten Soolmans & Oopjen Coppit by Rembrandt Van Rijn ($180M)
The couple’s portrait, Soolmans & Coppit, was painted by Rembrandt during their wedding, which was held in 1634. The paintings represented his first full-length portraiture works. They are currently hung at the Rijksmuseum and are jointly owned by the museum as well as the Louvre. The paintings used to belong to the Rothschild family. They’re always shown together and have not been ever split, even during the times they shuttle between the two museums.
Les Femmes D’alger (Version O) by Pablo Picasso ($179.4M)
Les Femmes D’alger (Version O) is a unique work of art, painted by Pablo Picasso. It was acquired for $179.4M in 2015 by the Qatari royal family.
The Version O of this painting is the one in a fifteen-piece collection, belonging to the Ganz family. It depicts Algerian concubines in their harem, consisting of a hookah that’s used for smoking opium or hashish. This particular piece is regarded as the masterpiece in the series, and Christie’s refers to the painting as a phenomenon. Its references to Cubism are seen as a response to the artist Delacroix’s work & an echo of Matisse’s work. The work is nearly taken as a new style of painting.
Nu Couche by Amedeo Modigliani ($170M)
Last on the list of the world’s most expensive paintings ever sold is the Nu Couche. This particular nude painting was bought in 2015 by the Chinese billionaire Liu Yiqian for $170.4 million. It was presented to the public for the first time in 1917.
Some hours after its debut, the French police needed to intervene because it was seen as obscene by several visitors. “Nu Couche” is just one of a collection of famous nude paintings, which were made by Modigliani. These are the 10 world’s most expensive paintings ever sold. What are your thoughts about these spectacular works of art? Let’s hear from you in the comment section.