While We Can Barely Afford Avocado Toast, Here Are The 8 Most Expensive Paintings Ever
May 17, 2018|Ariel Rodriguez
They are valued in a fortune now but they first time they were sold they went for peanuts...
Molly’s Game (2017) is a movie based on a true story about how Molly Bloom came to host the “most exclusive high-stakes underground poker games in the world,” while she was only 26 years old. According to the movie, Molly’s game was so exclusive that players were required a minimum of $250,000 USD buy-in in order to play. There's this scene from the movie where a player forgets to bring the money and decides to take with him an original Monet painting as collateral for future debt. Molly is shocked to see this painting, mainly because the impressionist French painter Claude Monet ranks among the five most expensive artists in the world and his paintings costing an average of $7 million USD. And if you're shocked by this small fortune, wait until you see these eight masterpieces.
"Interchange" and "Number 17A," owned by Kenneth C. Griffin.
8 . Pablo Picasso: “Les Femmes d’Algers,” sold for $179.4 million USD
This painting is part of a series of 15 that the father of Cubism art created between 1954 and 1955 as a tribute to Eugène Delacroix’s and his painting Femmes d'Alger dans leur appartement. The entire series was originally bought by Victor Ganz in 1956, but the collector sold 10 of the 15 to Saidenberg Gallery.
7 . Rembrandt: "Pair of portraits of Maerten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppit,” sold for $180 million USD
These two canvases were created after the wedding of Marten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppit in 1634. The paintings have never been sold or hanged separately, despite being in their own individual frames. In order to purchase them, two museums, Louvre and Rijksmuseum, decided to split the check and acquire both paintings in a joined ownership in 2015.
6 . Mark Rothko: “No. 6 (Violet, Green and Red),” sold for $186 million USD
This painting with strong and contrasting colors, depicts three main layers of red, violet and green that descend from dark to bright. It is a distinctive style from the abstract-expressionist artist who decided to title it with an ambiguous name that would leave the painting up for many interpretations. In 2014, the Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, who purchased the painting, created a scandal after suing Swiss art dealer Yves Bouvier for over pricing him with this painting. Nevertheless, it remains on record as one of the most expensive paintings ever bought.
5 . Paul Gauguin: “Nafea Fan Ipoipo,” sold for $210 million USD
During his six-year trip to Tahiti, the French post-Impressionist artists painted this artwork called “When Will You Marry?” The details of its purchase first categorized the painting as the most expensive one of its period (in 2015), but after the details of a High Court lawsuit had been made public, it was shown that the buyer had actually paid $210 USD and not $300 USD as they'd first claimed.
4 . Jackson Pollock: “Number 17A,” sold for $200 million USD
This painting was bought by the same buyer who purchased “Interchange” and it was sold to him in 2015 by The David Geffen Foundation as well.
3 . Paul Cézanne: “The Card Players,” sold for $250 million USD
This painting depicts a pair of men playing cards and it’s part of a series of oil on canvas by the French Post-Impressionist artist. There are other four paintings that are part of the series and they illustrate different positions, players, and sizes. It was bought by the Royal Family of Qatar in 2011 and it set a new standard for art-price value in history since it doubled the previous record.
2 . Willem de Kooning: “Interchange,” sold for $300 million USD
This is an oil on canvas abstract painting by the Dutch-American expressionist painter. It is believe to be one of his first landscapes and it was sold by The David Geffen Foundation to American magnate and investor Kenneth C. Griffin. This investor, who is the richest man in Illinois and founder of the firm Citadel, held the most expensive artwork to be ever paid for two years, until “Salvator Mundi” was sold in 2017 for a higher amount.
1 . Leonardo da Vinci: “Salvator Mundi,” sold for $450 million USD
This painting was recently auctioned in 2017 at the Christie’s, an auction house in New York City. It was purchased by a private and anonymous buyer who is now in possession of one of the only 20 existing paintings created by da Vinci. In addition to being the most expensive painting ever bought, it is also the only one in possession of a private collector. All other da Vinci paintings belong to museums or galleries. The painting depicts an image of Jesus holding an orb and it was believed to be a copy for many years until 2005, when a research group bought it for $10,000 USD and later confirmed its authenticity.
Of course, there are many other expensive artworks that have been sold for small fortunes, but these paintings broke historical records. These paintings have been valued based on the artist's importance, style, and historical significance, and wealthy magnates see it as a perfect investment opportunity. Now, many of these paintings are in the hands of private collectors but a few are available for public admiration. It does make you wonder whether you should invest in emerging artistic talent, who knows, perhaps the illustrator you support on Instagram will be the next Da Vinci.
Before you leave, check out these other painting articles: