Top 10 Most Expensive Paintings Sold

By Bluei Fausto

There’s something about paintings that perfectly connotes what it means to be “luxurious”. Maybe it’s the artistry only the affluent could afford, or perhaps, it’s the beauty that matches only the grandest of lifestyles.

For decades, a broad range of paintings has already made its mark on the public consciousness. From Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, to Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night, to Salvador Dali’s The Persistence of Memory, there comes an array of paintings that has helped shaped the artistic world. With this, it is no surprise that while the global economy continues to slide down, art pieces remain astronomical.

As you cultivate your interest in arts and culture, we have compiled a list of 10 of the most expensive paintings sold as of 2019. Check them out.

10. "Masterpiece" by Roy Lichtenstein

 

Price: $165 Million

Coming in the 10th spot is Roy Lichtenstein’s 1962 pop painting “Masterpiece”. Exhibiting Lichtenstein’s classic Ben-Day dots and narrative content within a speech balloon, the painting is regarded to be “superbly witty and yet eerily prescient” by Time Out website.

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In the painting, a blonde girl is shown talking to a black-haired guy. In the female’s speech balloon, her remark reads “Why, Brad darling, this painting is a masterpiece! My, soon you’ll have all of New York clamoring for your work!”

In 2017, Hedge-fund billionaire and avid art collector Steve Cohen purchased the painting for $165 million.

9. “Nu couché” by Amedeo Modigliani

 

Price: $170.4 Million

Once considered to be a controversial artwork when it was first unveiled, Italian artist Amedeo Modigliani’s “Nu couché” now stands as one of the most expensive paintings to have ever been sold, valuing about $170.4 million. 

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Painted a century ago, the nude is part of Modigliani’s 22 reclining nude series painted between 1916 and 1919. The artwork is most famous for its role in reinventing the nude for the Modern era and its remarkable blend of some elements present in Italian Renaissance artworks, Mannerist painting, African carvings, and cubism.

In 2015, Chinese billionaire Liu Yiqian purchased the painting for $170.4 million.

8. Les Femmes d’ Alger (“Version O”) by Pablo Picasso

 

Price: $197.4 Million

Depicting Algerian concubines in their harem, Pablo Picasso’s Les Femmes d’ Alger (“Version O”) now stands as the 8th most expensive painting to have ever been sold. Known for its bright hues, sexual content, and orientalism, the 1834 painting serves as part of a 15-work series Picasso created designated with the letters A to O.

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In 2015, the piece was purchased by Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, the former prime minister of Qatar, for $197.4 million.

7. “Pendant portraits of Maerten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppit” by Rembrandt

 

Price: $180 Million

Painted on the occasion of the marriage of Marten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppit in 1634, these two full-length Rembrandt paintings stand as the 7th most expensive art pieces in the world.

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Ever since their creation, the two paintings have never been separated. The pair were also believed to be examples of Rembrandt at his best. 

In 2015, the paintings were purchased by the Louvre and the Rijksmuseum as a joint venture, with each agreeing to pay 50% of the price.

6. “No. 6 (Violet, Green and Red)” by Mark Rothko

 

Price: $186 Million

Created by abstract expressionist artist Mark Rothko, the “No. 6 (Violet, Green and Red)” serves as one of the most popular abstract expressionist art pieces.

buzzfeed.com, artsy.net

Displaying a striking juxtaposition, the art piece remarkably explores color and tone while promising a warm and delightful overall appearance to spectators.

The painting was sold to Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev for a high price of $186 million in 2014.

5. “Number 17A” by Jackson Pollock

 

Price: $200 Million

Created by Jackson Pollock, “Number 17A” has been considered to be a key player in the abstract expressionist movement. Unlike traditional paintings, which highlight what was made, Number 17A finds novelty in how it was made: by Pollock literally walking on the canvas while splashing liquid household paint on its horizontal surface.

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In 2016, Chicago hedge fund manager Kenneth C. Griffin bought this 1948 painting for $200 million.

4. “Nafea Faa Ipoipo” by Paul Gauguin

 

Price: $210 Million

“Nafea Faa Ipoipo,” also known as “When Will You Marry,” is an oil painting made by French post-impressionist Paul Gauguin during his trip to Tahiti.

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Depicting two Tahitian women with a rich landscape behind them, the painting has gained much attention and praise due to its bold experimentation of color and remarkable synthetism style.

In 2015, the artwork was listed to be the most expensive painting in the world, valuing at $210 million. To date, it now stands as 4th among all the most exclusive paintings ever sold.

3. “The Card Players” by Paul Cézanne

 

Price: $250 Million

Made by French artist Paul Cézanne, “The Card Players” is one of the five Impressionist paintings made by the French modernist painter under his 1890’s series of the same name.

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The art piece was considered to be one of the painter’s most ambitious projects, taking up several years just to figure out its outset and fine-tune the poses and positions of the figures.

In 2011, the Royal Family of Qatar purchased the piece at $250 million, making it the third highest-paid painting ever sold.

2. “Interchange” by Willem de Kooning

 

Price: $300 Million

Created by the abstract expressionist painter Willem de Kooning, this 1955 oil canvas marks the Dutch-American painter’s first abstract painting and signals the most transformative era of the painter’s career.

artnet.com, builderlevy.com

In 1955, the piece was bought for $4,000 by the architect Edgar Kaufmann Jr. About 60 years later, Hedge fund billionaire Kenneth Griffin bought it alongside Jackson Pollock’s “Number 17A” in a $500 million deal.

For two years, the artwork was considered to be the most expensive painting to be ever sold, until it was knocked off by a staggering $450.3 million purchase of another piece in 2017.

1. “Salvator Mundi” by Leonardo da Vinci

 

Price: $450.3 Million

You bet it. Leonardo da Vinci’s “Salvator Mundi” is currently hailed to be the most expensive painting in the world. Measuring 26 inches, this oil-on-panel painting hauntingly depicts a half-length figure of Christ dressed in Renaissance-era robes, making the sign of the cross with his right hand and holding a transparent orb in his left.

wikipedia.org, nationalgeographic.com

The piece was said to be commissioned by King Louis XII of France in 1605 and was believed to have been destroyed years after. From 1763, all records concerning the painting were wiped out until 2005, when a group of British art dealers rediscovered it.

It was sold at auction for $450.3 million in 2017 to Prince Badr bin Abdullah, giving it the title of the most expensive painting ever sold at public auction.

WANT MORE?

 

Did your jaw drop while going through this list? From form to content, these 10 art pieces prove that every stroke could be worth a thousand. 

wikipedia.org, wikipedia.org, artnet.com, builderlevy.com

Which painting do you fancy having a look at? 

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