13 Of The Most Expensive Paintings Ever Sold In The History Of Art

A painting was recently sold for $300 Million and has now become the most expensive painting ever! Though there are numerous paintings that have held this record, today we bring to you thirteen of them.

The thirteen paintings mentioned below are some of the most coveted artworks that have ever existed. The combined price of all these paintings is a whopping $2.2 Billion!


WHEN WILL YOU MARRY by PAUL GAUGUIN

($300 Million)

The 1982 painting of two Tahitian girls by Gauguin, who was virtually unknown during his time, became the world’s most expensive single work of art, when Qatar bought the canvas from a Swiss collector for almost $300 million in February 2015. Gauguin is said to have created the painting while on a trip to Tahiti to escape the humdrum and convention in Europe.

GAUGUIN
When Will You Marry by Paul Gauguin

 

THE CARD PLAYERS by PAUL CEZANNE

($274 Million)

The card players, was the first in a series of five paintings that Cezanne devoted to peasants playing cards. The models in this painting were from Cezanne’s family’s estate outside Aix-en-Provence: the gardener and a farm hand. The artwork was sold to the Royal Family of Qatar in 2011.

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The Card Players by Paul Cezanne

 

No.6 (VILOET, GREEN AND RED) by MARK ROTHKO

($186 Million)

Dmitry Rybolovlev, a Russian billionaire, purchased the painting for $186 million in 2015, setting a record for a work by the American painter. It is however, subject to a legal dispute with Mr Rybolovlev accusing Yves Bouvier, an art dealer, of misleading him about the price.

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

 

LES FEMMES d’ALGER (VERSION O) by PABLO PICASSO

($179.3 Million)

Picasso created a series of 15 variations of Les femmes d’Alger inspired by the French master Eugene Delacroix who in 1834 had painted The Women of Algiers in their Apartment. This particular version is the last of his series and is said to be the most important Picasso owned privately. It was sold at an auction at Christie’s in 2015.

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Les Femmes d’Alger (Version O) by Pablo Picasso

 

No.5, 1948 by JACKSON POLLOCK

($165.4 Million)

The conditions surrounding the sale of this artwork were very dubious. The sale was brokered by Sotheby’s in 2006 and was shrouded in secrecy. David Martinez reportedly bough the 8-foot by 4-foot piece of fibreboard, covered in drips of brown and yellow paint from David Geffen, the Dreamworks co-founder and entertainment magnate. Mr Martinez’s law firm later issued a statement saying he did not own it.

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No. 5, 1948 by Jackson Pollock

 

THE WOMAN III BY WILLEM DE KOONING

($162.4 Million)

David Geffen sold another painting in 2006, and it was bought by Steven Cohen, a hedge fund billionaire. It was the third in a series of six paintings by de Kooning, an abstract expressionist, created sometime between 1951 and 1953. It was part of the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art collection, but it was removed because of the strict laws regarding the images of women that came into place as a result of the 1979 revolution.

william-de-kooning-woman-3
The Woman III by Willem de Kooning

 

PORTRAIT OF ADELE BLOCK-BAUER by GUSTAV KLIMT

($158.4 Million)

Ronald Lauder, the cosmetics magnate, purchased the artwork in 2006 for the Neue Galerie. The painting has a very interesting story. It was seized by the Nazis during the Second World War and reclaimed by the rightful owner’s niece only when she was in her eighties. It’s story is the subject of the movie Woman in Gold, starring Helen Mirren.

portrait-of-adele-bloch-bauer-i-gustav-klimt
The Portrait Of Adele Bauer I

 

PORTRAIT OF DR. GACHET by VINCENT VAN GOGH

($152 Million)

Dr Gachet was the medic who cared for Van Gogh in the final months of his life. The portrait was bought by a Tokyo art dealer on behalf of Japanese industrialist Ryoei Saito. After Saito’s death, the painting passed onto the international art market and its whereabouts remain unknown.

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Portrait Of Dr. Gachet by Vincent Van Gogh

 

THE THREE STUDIES OF LUCIAN FREUD by FRANCIS BACON

($145 Million)

This piece by Francis Bacon, holds the current auction record after selling at Christie’s New York in 2013. Initially valued at $80 Million, the artwork which was painted in 1969, and shows Bacon’s friend Lucian Freud, the British painter, surpassed all expectations when it was sold.

francisbacon
The Three Studies of Lucian Freud by Francis Bacon

 

THE SCREAM by EDVARD MUNCH

($119.9 Million)

This iconic work was the most expensive painting ever sold at auction in 2012 until it was surpassed by Bacon’s “Three Studies of Lucian Freud”. Of the four versions of Edvard Munch’s masterpiece “The Scream”, this particular piece is the most colourful and remains the only one still in private hands.

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The Scream by Edvard Munch

 

FLAG by JASPER JOHNS

($110 Million)

The “Flags” series are Jasper Johns most famous works. Jasper was inspired to paint the US flag after he dreamed of it in 1954. The artist painted his first American flag in 1954–55, two years after he was discharged from the US Army. In 2010, Billionaire Steven A. Cohen privately bought it from Jean-Christophe Castelli, son of Leo Castelli, Mr. Johns’ legendary dealer.

jasperjohns
Flag by Jasper Johns

 

EIGHT ELVISES by ANDY WARHOL

($100.5 Million)

Eight Elvises is a 12-foot painting created by Andy Warhol in 1963.  For 40 years, it belonged to Annibale Berlingieri, a Roman collector, but in autumn 2008 it sold for over $100m in a deal brokered by Philippe Ségalot, the French art consultant.

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Eight Elvises by Andy Warhol

 

MASSACRE OF INNOCENTS by PETER PAUL RUBENS

($92.7 Million)

The first version of this painting was created by Rubens around 1611–12. In the seventeenth-century, the painting was part of the Liechtenstein Collection in Vienna, Austria, along with another Rubens’ masterpiece, Samson and Delilah. After changing hands quite a few times, the work was sold at auction at Sotheby’s, London on July 10, 2002 for $117 Million CAD to Canadian businessman Kenneth Thomson.

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Massacre of Innocents by Peter Paul Rubens

 

Have we missed out on anything? We’d love to hear from you in comments.

Sources: Nytimes.com, Telegraph.co.uk

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