Take a look at the most expensive paintings ever sold… so far…
Do you know how many millions of dollars the most expensive painting has been auctioned for? Are there any of your favorite painters on the list whose artwork sold at a premium? Below, we reveal all the details.
1. Salvador Mundi, Leonardo da Vinci ($450.3 million)
It is believed that this work, attributed to Leonardo da Vinci, in which Christ appears as the savior of the world giving the blessing, was made around 1500. On November 15 2017, after 19 minutes of bidding at Christie’s in New York, it became the most expensive painting ever sold.
The seller was Russian collector Dmitry Rybolovlev, and it appears that the buyer was Bader bin Abdullah bin Farhan al Saud (Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Culture), although the final recipient is said to have been Mohamed Bin Salman (Crown Prince). Art specialist Kenny Schachter revealed in 2019 that the famous painting was on “Serene”, the prince’s luxury yacht.
2. Interchange, Willem de Kooning (≈300 million dollars)
Willem de Kooning is one of the greatest exponents of Abstract Expressionism and, for a few months, Interchange held the title as the most expensive painting ever sold. Millionaire Kenneth C. Griffin acquired this painting along with Jackson Pollock’s Number 17A in September 2015. Currently, it is possible to admire both paintings at the Art Institute of Chicago, as they have been temporarily loaned by the American businessman.
3. The Card Players, Paul Cézanne ($250 million)
The Card Players is a series of five paintings by Paul Cézanne, the acclaimed Post-Impressionist painter. The works in the series are not identical, varying in size, number of players and setting in which the game takes place. In 2011, the royal family of Qatar acquired one of the paintings in the series for $250 million in a private sale. The other paintings are exhibited in renowned art galleries such as the Musée d’Orsay in Paris or the MET in New York.
4. When Will You Marry, Paul Gauguin ($210 million)
In this painting, Post-Impressionist artist Paul Gauguin portrays two indigenous women, one dressed in traditional Tahitian clothing and the other in Western clothes. A Qatari noble bought the painting from Rudolf Staechelin in 2014. Although it was initially reported that the work had been sold for $300 million, a legal dispute uncovered the actual sale price was $210 million.
5. Number 17A, Jackson Pollock (≈200 million dollars)
As mentioned earlier, this iconic Jackson Pollock work was acquired by business mogul Kenneth Griffin for about $200 million. In the same purchase, Griffin also acquired Interchange, the second most expensive painting in history (so far!).
6. Water Serpents II, Gustav Klimt ($183.8 million)
This work has always been surrounded by controversy, first because it was stolen by the Nazis during World War II, and then, because of all the problems that derived after its sale in 2013. That year, art dealer Yves Bouvier sold the painting to Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev for $183.8 million. Later, Rybolovlev and other alleged victims took legal action against Bouvier, accusing him of having inflated the price of 38 works of art. This scandal is known as the “Bouvier Affair”.
7. No. 6 (Violet, Green and Red), Mark Rothko ($186 million)
The colorful horizontal bands of this canvas are very characteristic of Rothko’s works. In August 2014, No. 6 (Violet, Green and Red) became part of the list of most expensive paintings ever sold, when it was purchased by Dmitry Rybolovlev for $186 million. Guess who he bought it from? Yes, from Yves Bouvier!
8. Portraits of Marten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppit, Rembrandt van Rijn ($180 million)
The wedding portraits of Marten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppit, painted separately but intended to be exhibited together, are the largest portraits by Rembrandt. In 2015, the works were acquired jointly by the State of France and the State of the Netherlands, to be exhibited alternately at the Rijksmuseum and the Louvre.
9. Les Femmes d’Alger (version O), Pablo Picasso ($179.4 million)
Les femmes d’Alger is a series of 15 paintings by Pablo Picasso. The artist was inspired by a work by Eugène Delacroix (Women of Algiers in their Apartment). The last painting in the series (Version O) was auctioned for the first time in 1997 for $31.9 million. In 2015, at Christie’s, it became one of the most expensive paintings in art history when it was auctioned for $179.4 million. The buyer was Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabr Al Thani, former Prime Minister of Qatar.
10. Nu Couché, Amedeo Modigliani ($170.4 million)
The Italian painter and sculptor, known for his portraits and nudes, was not considered very successful when alive. However, he is now considered one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. His painting Nu Couché made history in 2015 when it was acquired by Chinese billionaire Liu Yiqian for more than $170 million.
What will be the next painting to break a sales record?