Painting, and fine arts in general, are expressions of emotion and ideas, with the creation of aesthetic qualities in two-dimensional visual language. The greatness of arts and paintings are that they are such a diverse and varied range of works. These works of art have always fascinated the elites of society, who pay astronomical prices to get one of these in their possession.

There has been a number of occasions where prices of some original pieces made by famous and renowned artists have skyrocketed at private sales and auctions. Today, we have prepared a list of the ten most expensive paintings ever sold

#10. Nu Couché 

Nu Couché

In 2015, Amedeo Modigliani’s 1917 oil canvas, Nu Couché, fetched $170 million at an auction in New York. Nu Couché, which is also known as Red Nude or Reclining Nude in English, was purchased by Chinese businessman, Liu Yiqian, after a protracted bidding at Christie’s auction. 

#9. Les Femmes d’Alger (“Version O”)

Les Femmes d’Alger (“Version O”)

The “Version O” of Pablo Picasso’s Les Femmes d’Alger, became the most expensive painting ever sold at an auction for a staggering price of $179 million in 2015. Les femmes d’Alger, which means “Women of Algiers,” consists of 15 paintings and several other drawings painted by Picasso as a respect to the artists he admired. This last version of this masterpiece was bought by the prime minister of Qatar, Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, at Christie’s auction.

#8. Pendant Portraits of Maerten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppit 

Pendant Portraits of Maerten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppit

Pendant Portraits of Maerten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppit are the only full-length paintings portrayed by Dutch artist, Rembrandt Harmenszoon Van Rijn, who is considered as the greatest visual artist of all time in Dutch art history. This painting was jointly purchased by Louvre Museum in France and Rijksmuseum in the Netherlands for €160 million ($180 million).

#7. No.6 (Violet, Green, Red) 

No.6 (Violet, Green, Red)

In 2014, Yves Bouvier, a Swiss art dealer, sold No.6 (Violet, Green, Red) to Russian billionaire, Dmitry Rybolovlev. The painting of abstract expressionist, Mark Rothko, was sold for €140 million ($163 million). 

#6. Wasserschlangen II

Wasserschlangen II

Wasserschlangen II is the painting created by Austrian artist, Gustav Klimt, in 1907. The sale of this art took place in 2012 when Swiss art collector, Yves Bouvier, sold it to his favorite Russian client, Dmitry Rybolovlev, the aforementioned billionaire, at a private sale. After a long bargain, this oil canvas was sold at $183.8 million.

#5. Number 17A

Number 17A

Number 17A, an oil on fiberboard painting made by American abstract expressionist, Jackson Pollock, in 1948, was sold at a fantastic price of $200 million. David Geffen Foundation sold this painting to Kenneth C. Griffin at a private sale in 2015. 

#4. Nafea faa ipoipo

Nafea faa ipoipo

Nafea faa ipoipo (which means When Will You Marry?), is a painting of two Tahitian women on a field made by well-known French artist, Paul Gauguin, in 1892. This painting was sold by Rudolf Staechelin to an undisclosed buyer from Qatar. Staechelin confirmed to the New York Times that the oil painting was sold for $210 million in 2014. 

#3. The Card Players 

The Card Players

Small oil nation of Qatar surprised the world again by buying one of the most expensive paintings in the world. The Royal Family of Qatar bought one of Paul Cézanne’s “The Card Players” for more than $270 million in a private sale with George Embiricos. The painting series of The Card Players has five paintings in total with other four being in Musée d’Orsay and the Metropolitan Museum of Arts. 

#2. Interchange (de Kooning) 

 Interchange (de Kooning) 

Interchange is the most expensive abstract art ever sold. This painting was made by Dutch artist, Willem de Kooning, who is known as the best abstract expressionist of his time. The painting was sold by the Foundation of David Geffen to Kenneth C. Griffin, in a private sale, for an amount of $300 million

#1. Salvator Mundi 

Salvator Mundi 

Leonardo Da Vinci’s, Salvator Mundi is the most expensive work of art in the whole world. The painting which was estimated to have been created in the year 1500 was sold at an auction in 2017 for $450.3 million. Unlike other works of da Vinci, it is quite rare to find something like that in that condition. Salvator Mundi, which means “savior of the world” in Latin was kept in an auction at Christie’s by Dmitry Rybolovlev and was bought by the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture Tourism.

You just saw the 10 most expensive paintings in the world to date. Which of these pieces of art would you like to have in your collection? Let us know by commenting below.


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