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Top 10 Most Expensive Paintings Ever Sold

Top 10 Most Expensive Paintings Ever Sold

Written by Sanjay Kumar

The world is filled with invaluable artworks that grace the walls of museums and private collections, captivating the hearts and minds of art enthusiasts. While determining a precise monetary value for such unique creations can be challenging, the art market often witnesses staggering transactions where paintings change hands for exorbitant sums. In this article, we delve into the realm of artistic opulence and explore the top ten most expensive paintings in the world, spanning from revered Old Masters to contemporary masterpieces.

From Canvas to Fortune: The 10 Most Expensive Paintings Ever Created

01 – Salvator Mundi by Leonardo da Vinci

Salvator Mundi by Leonardo da Vinci
credit image: tr.wikipedia.org
  • Artists: Leonardo da Vinci, Leonardeschi
  • Created: 1490–1500
  • Period: High Renaissance
  • Medium: Oil Paint
  • Dimensions: 66 cm x 45 cm

Price Paid for Painting: $450 million

In the art world, the authenticity of Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi, painted during the 1500s, remains a topic of debate. Nonetheless, this piece garnered an astounding $450 million at a Christie’s auction in 2017. Acquired by the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud, the painting was initially slated for display at the Louvre Abu Dhabi. However, plans changed, and rumors suggest it found its way onto a Saudi prince’s yacht, awaiting exhibition at Saudi Arabia’s upcoming cultural center in Al Ula.

02 – Interchange by Willem de Kooning

Interchange by Willem de Kooning
credit image: en.wikipedia.org
  • Artist: Willem de Kooning
  • Created: 1955
  • Medium: Oil paint on canvas
  • Dimensions: 200.7 cm × 175.3 cm (79.0 in × 69.0 in)

Price Paid for Painting: $300 million

Considered the “artist’s artist,” Dutch-American painter Willem de Kooning played a pivotal role in shaping the abstract expressionist movement. Interchange, an iconic work, marks de Kooning’s shift from painting predominantly women to embracing abstract urban landscapes. In September 2015, billionaire Kenneth C. Griffin acquired this masterpiece for a staggering $300 million from the David Geffen Foundation.

03 – The Card Players by Paul Cézanne

The Card Players by Paul Cézanne
credit image:en.wikipedia.org
  • Artist – Paul Cézanne
  • Year – 1894–95
  • Medium – Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions – 47.5 cm × 57 cm (18.7 in × 22 in)
  • Location – Musée d’Orsay, Paris

Price Paid for Painting: $250 million

Paul Cézanne’s The Card Players, part of a renowned series produced throughout his illustrious career, captivates art enthusiasts worldwide. In 2011, this particular version of the series was privately sold for a breathtaking sum of over $250 million (equivalent to approximately $269 million in today’s currency), becoming the most expensive painting at the time. While its current ownership is associated with the royal family of Qatar, the painting’s precise location remains unconfirmed.

04 – Nafea Faa Ipoipo? by Paul Gauguin

Nafea Faa Ipoipo? by Paul Gauguin
credit image: galeriemontblanc.com
  • Artist: Paul Gauguin
  • Period: Post-Impressionism
  • Medium: Oil Paint
  • Created: 1892
  • Dimensions: 1.01 m x 77 cm
  • Location: Private collection

Price Paid for Painting: $210 million

Paul Gauguin’s Nafea Faa Ipoipo? (When Will You Marry?) emerged as one of his earliest works following his initial trip to Tahiti in 1891. Depicting a young native woman adorned with a white flower, symbolizing readiness for marriage, and her protective mother, this painting has had an intriguing ownership history. Initially reported as sold for $300 million by Swiss businessman Rudolf Staechelin to a Qatari buyer, a subsequent lawsuit in 2017 revealed that the actual transaction amounted to $210 million.

05 – Number 17A by Jackson Pollock

Number 17A by Jackson Pollock
credit image: en.wikipedia.org
  • Artist: Jackson Pollock
  • Created: 1948
  • Location: Private collection
  • Dimensions: 112 cm × 86.5 cm (44 in × 34.1 in)

Price Paid for Painting: $200 million

Jackson Pollock, a prominent figure in the abstract expressionist movement, gained recognition for his distinct “drip” technique, a method of pouring paint onto canvas to convey emotion through dynamic movement. Number 17A, an early masterpiece showcasing Pollock’s kaleidoscope of colors on a fiberboard canvas, was acquired by billionaire Kenneth C. Griffin for $200 million in 2015 from the David Geffen Foundation.

06 – The Standard-Bearer by Rembrandt

The Standard-Bearer by Rembrandt
credit image: en.wikipedia.org
  • Artist: Rembrandt
  • Created: 1636
  • Genre: Self-portrait
  • Location: Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
  • Medium: Oil on canvas

Price Paid for Painting: $198 million

An exemplary self-portrait from the Dutch Golden Age, The Standard-Bearer, painted in 1636, stands as one of Rembrandt’s most vibrant masterpieces. After passing through the hands of England’s King George IV and the Rothschild family, the Dutch government expressed its intent to purchase this captivating artwork for the country’s national collection. In 2022, the painting was sold to the Netherlands for approximately $198 million, delighting art enthusiasts who can now admire it on special display at museums throughout the country.

07 – Shot Sage Blue Marilyn by Andy Warhol

Shot Sage Blue Marilyn by Andy Warhol
credit image: theinteriorreview.com

Price Paid for Painting: $195 million

Andy Warhol’s Shot Sage Blue Marilyn made waves in the art world when it fetched slightly over $195 million during a 2022 Christie’s sale, becoming a focal point of attention. As part of a series created using a silk-screen technique and a cropped film still from “Niagara,” this iconic artwork bears the unique distinction of being shot by performance artist Dorothy Podber, who fired at four of Warhol’s paintings. Though subsequently repaired, the series retained its name and continued to captivate audiences.

08 – No. 6 (Violet, Green, and Red) by Mark Rothko

No. 6 (Violet, Green and Red) by Mark Rothko
credit image: en.wikipedia.org
  • Artist: Mark Rothko
  • Period: Abstract expressionism
  • Created: 1951
  • Location: private collection
  • Medium: Oil on canvas

Price Paid for Painting: $186 million

Mark Rothko, a Russian-American painter celebrated for his vibrant rectangular compositions, achieved a record high for his artistic legacy with No. 6 (Violet, Green and Red). Privately sold in 2014 for $186 million, this abstract masterpiece found its way into the hands of Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev through the mediation of art dealer Yves Bouvier. Presently, a legal dispute between Rybolovlev and Bouvier arises from the former’s contention of being misled about the artwork’s price.

09 – Portraits of Maerten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppit by Rembrandt van Rijn

Portraits of Maerten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppit by Rembrandt van Rijn
credit image: commons.wikimedia.org
  • Artist: Rembrandt
  • Created: 1634
  • Location: Rijksmuseum and Louvre, Amsterdam and Paris
  • Dimensions: 209.5 cm × 135.5 cm (82.5 in × 53.3 in)

Price Paid for Painting: $180 million

The wedding portraits of Marten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppit, created by a young Rembrandt in 1634, have remained together since their inception, setting them apart from other 17th-century portrait pairs. Once owned by the Rothschild family, these captivating paintings eventually found new homes in two esteemed museums: The Louvre and the Rijksmuseum. In a mutually agreed arrangement, these European institutions take turns displaying the portraits, ensuring their everlasting unity.

10 – Water Serpents II by Gustav Klimt

Water Serpents II by Gustav Klimt
credit image: wikidata.org
  • Artist: Gustav Klimt
  • Location: Private collection, Asia
  • Year: 1904–1907
  • Dimensions: 80 cm × 145 cm (31 in × 57 in)

Price Paid for Painting: $170 million

Gustav Klimt’s Water Serpents II, completed in 1907, forms part of a series that explores the sensual allure of the female form. Following a tumultuous journey, this lavishly decorated painting was confiscated by the Nazis during World War II from its original owner, Jenny Steiner, a Jewish collector. The artwork resurfaced in 2015, when it was auctioned by Sotheby’s. After undergoing changes in ownership, the painting was finally sold for $170 million in 2017 to an undisclosed buyer and is presently showcased at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

In conclusion, these ten remarkable artworks symbolize the epitome of artistic value and have garnered immense attention and admiration from both connoisseurs and the general public. Each painting encapsulates the artist’s unique vision, and their exceptional prices reflect the enduring allure and significance of art in our world.

FAQ

01. What are the top 10 most expensive paintings in the world?

The top 10 most expensive paintings in the world are as follows: –

  1. “Salvator Mundi” by Leonardo da Vinci – Sold for $450.3 million in 2017.
  2. “Interchange” by Willem de Kooning – Sold for $300 million in 2015.
  3. “The Card Players” by Paul Cézanne – Sold for an estimated $250 million in 2011.
  4. “Nafea Faa Ipoipo?” (When Will You Marry?) by Paul Gauguin – Sold for $210 million in 2015.
  5. “Number 17A” by Jackson Pollock – Sold for $200 million in 2015.
  6. “No. 6 (Violet, Green, and Red)” by Mark Rothko – Sold for $186 million in 2014.
  7. “Les Femmes d’Alger” (“Version O”) by Pablo Picasso – Sold for $179.4 million in 2015.
  8. “Nu Couché” by Amedeo Modigliani – Sold for $170.4 million in 2015.
  9. “No. 5, 1948” by Jackson Pollock – Sold for an estimated $165 million in a private sale in 2006.
  10. “Woman III” by Willem de Kooning – Sold for $162.4 million in 2006.

02. What are the top 10 most expensive paintings in India?

The top 10 most expensive paintings in India are as follows: –

  1. “Birth of Budha” by Tyeb Mehta – Sold for INR 26.4 crore (approximately $3.6 million) in 2011.
  2. “Rhythms of Eternal Bliss” by S.H. Raza – Sold for INR 16.3 crore (approximately $2.2 million) in 2017.
  3. “Untitled” by V.S. Gaitonde – Sold for INR 15.4 crore (approximately $2.1 million) in 2015.
  4. “Kali” by Tyeb Mehta – Sold for INR 14.5 crore (approximately $2 million) in 2005.
  5. “The Vulture” by F.N. Souza – Sold for INR 11.3 crore (approximately $1.5 million) in 2015.
  6. “Proust Questionnaire” by Tyeb Mehta – Sold for INR 11.2 crore (approximately $1.5 million) in 2015.
  7. “The Prophet” by F.N. Souza – Sold for INR 10.2 crore (approximately $1.4 million) in 2015.
  8. “Wish Dream” by S.H. Raza – Sold for INR 9.7 crore (approximately $1.3 million) in 2019.
  9. “Untitled (Red)” by Syed Haider Raza – Sold for INR 9.4 crore (approximately $1.3 million) in 2010.
  10. “Untitled” by F.N. Souza – Sold for INR 8.4 crore (approximately $1.1 million) in 2005.

03. What are the top 10 most expensive paintings in the United States?

The following are the top 10 most expensive paintings sold in the United States: –

  1. “Salvator Mundi” by Leonardo da Vinci – Sold for $450.3 million in 2017.
  2. “Interchange” by Willem de Kooning – Sold for $300 million in 2015.
  3. “The Card Players” by Paul Cézanne – Sold for an estimated $250 million in 2011.
  4. “No. 6 (Violet, Green, and Red)” by Mark Rothko – Sold for $186 million in 2014.
  5. “Les Femmes d’Alger” (“Version O”) by Pablo Picasso – Sold for $179.4 million in 2015.
  6. “Nu Couché” by Amedeo Modigliani – Sold for $170.4 million in 2015.
  7. “No. 5, 1948” by Jackson Pollock – Sold for an estimated $165 million in a private sale in 2006.
  8. “Woman III” by Willem de Kooning – Sold for $162.4 million in 2006.
  9. “Untitled XXV” by Willem de Kooning – Sold for $149.8 million in 2013.
  10. “Number 17A” by Jackson Pollock – Sold for $200 million in 2015.

04. What are the top 10 most expensive paintings in China?

The top 10 most expensive paintings in China are as follows:

  1. “Peach Blossom Spring” by Zhang Daqian – Sold for CNY 445 million (approximately $69 million) in 2016.
  2. “Eagle Standing on Pine Tree” by Qi Baishi – Sold for CNY 425.5 million (approximately $66 million) in 2011.
  3. “Juin-Octobre 1985” by Zao Wou-Ki – Sold for CNY 340 million (approximately $52.8 million) in 2016.
  4. “Fishing in Early Spring” by Wu Guanzhong – Sold for CNY 236 million (approximately $36.6 million) in 2016.
  5. “Eagle” by Qi Baishi – Sold for CNY 236 million (approximately $36.6 million) in 2017.
  6. “Sparrow on a Wucai Jar” by Qi Baishi – Sold for CNY 186 million (approximately $28.8 million) in 2017.
  7. “Galloping Horse” by Xu Beihong – Sold for CNY 181.5 million (approximately $28.2 million) in 2011.
  8. “Landscape in Snow” by Fu Baoshi – Sold for CNY 170.5 million (approximately $26.5 million) in 2011.
  9. “Shan Shui Qian Shi Shu Hua” by Fu Baoshi – Sold for CNY 160 million (approximately $24.8 million) in 2014.
  10. “Lotus” by Qi Baishi – Sold for CNY 158.8 million (approximately $24.6 million) in 2011.

05. Who are the top 10 painters in India?

The top 10 painters in India are as follows: –

  1. Raja Ravi Varma
  2. Tyeb Mehta
  3. Amrita Sher-Gil
  4. F. Husain
  5. H. Raza
  6. N. Souza
  7. Rabindranath Tagore
  8. Jamini Roy
  9. Bhupen Khakhar
  10. Arpita Singh

06. Who are the top 10 painters in the world?

The top 10 painters in the world are as follows: –

  1. Leonardo da Vinci
  2. Vincent van Gogh
  3. Pablo Picasso
  4. Michelangelo
  5. Rembrandt
  6. Claude Monet
  7. Salvador Dalí
  8. Johannes Vermeer
  9. Frida Kahlo
  10. Georgia O’Keeffe

07. Who are the top 10 youngest painters in the world?

The Top 10 youngest painters in the world are as follows: –

  1. Aelita Andre
  2. Autumn de Forest
  3. Kieron Williamson
  4. Xeo Chu
  5. Evan Sharma
  6. KyeongSoo Kim
  7. Cai Xiaosong
  8. Bree Pickering
  9. Yoyo Lander
  10. Iris Grace Halmshaw

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