The artistic world is a complex one, much like the artists itself. Many people have trouble coming to terms with all the money that is involved with this particular field, but that doesn’t stop true lovers of spending millions on exclusive pieces. Of course, the biggest chunk of a given piece’s worth stems from the artist who painted it. When we take into consideration that a painting was created by a master like Leonardo Da Vinci, it becomes easier to understand why so much money is involved.
And when we talk about large sums of money, we truly mean fortunes. It’s not as uncommon as one would think to find a work of art sold by more than a regular Joe would make in a lifetime. And today, we’re taking a look at the 10 most expensive works of art out there, that have the potential to break your bank.
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10 Masterpiece by Roy Lichtenstein: $165 Million
Pop art was a very interesting time for art in general. It’s always interesting to see how much it can change based on what artists are inspired by. And in the case of pop art, it was an avalanche of colour, comics, and an overall challenging tone to what people were used to see in this world. It was an important movement that came to prove anything can be considered art!
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This movement inspired a great many artists, including Roy Lichtenstein. Created in 1962, the piece is an amalgamation of the artist’s signature. And it became so popular, it was sold in auction for $165 million. So if you’re thinking about making an offer to Steven A. Cohen, be prepared to spend some serious money!
9 Nu Couché by Amedeo Modigliani: $170.4 Million
Amadeo Modigliani is well known amongst art lovers for painting nudes in a compelling and unique style. Nu Couché became his most famous piece of art when it sold in 2015 for over $170 Million to businessman and billionaire Liu Yiqian.
Curiously enough, the artist only had the chance to put up a ingle exhibition during his lifetime. One that ended up being shut down by the police! It will always remain somewhat of a tragedy that artists that lived in poverty and anonymity during their lifetime now have their pieces being acquired for millions of dollars.
8 Les Femmes D’Alger (Version O) by Pablo Picasso: $179.4 Million
On the topic of artists that didn’t exactly reach billionaire status while they were alive, and became huge once they were deceased is acclaimed Spanish painter Pablo Picasso. One of the founders of the Cubist movement, to this day it remains virtually impossible to look upon one of his works without immediately recognising it was his doing.
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Les Femmes D’Alger (Version O) is part of a series of paintings created by Picasso between 1954 and 1955, in tribute to the work of French artist Eugène Delacroix. Version O is the last version of the paintings, and is valued at $179.4 Million as of 2015.
7 Pendant Portraits of Maerten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppit by Rembrandt: $180 Million
Dutch artist Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn remains, to this day, one of the most influential people in the artistic world, not just in his homeland, but the entire world as well. Rembrandt took his art to the next level during the 17th century, by choosing to focus on several themes rather than just a single topic.
The Pendant Portraits of Maerten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppit were commissioned on the occasion of Maerten and Oopjen’s marriage, that took place in 1634. Initially belonging to the affluent Rothschild family, they were bought for $180 Million by the Louvre and Rijksmuseum in 2015.
6 No. 6 (Violet, Green and Red) by Mark Rothko: $186 Million
Those who are familiar with the happenings inside of the art world have surely heard of the Bouvier Affair. Long story short, Swiss art dealer Yves Bouvier conned a series of very important customers, over charging them for the art pieces they bought. Well, the painting in question was one of the ones involved in the whole ordeal.
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Originally painted in 1951 by Russian-American artist Mark Rothko, the piece perfectly represents the abstract expressionist movement that make all of his works so easily recognisable. After being sold to Russian businessman Dmitry Rybolovlev, it is now valued at $186 Million. Good luck trying to outbid that!
5 Number 17A by Pollock: $200 Million
“I am nature” are perhaps some of the most famous words to have ever come out of famous American painter Jackson Pollock. Indeed, it was later proven that the patterns one could find in his works were present in nature itself. 17A is one of Pollock’s most exquisite paintings, staying true to the artist’s love for abstract expressionism.
Painted in 1948, this work of art remains, to this day, the most valuable one to ever come out of Pollock’s several collections. In 2015, it was sold for $200 Million to Kenneth C. Griffin, an American investor and hedge fund manager. It’s a wonderful art work, and it also costs quite the fortune.
4 Nafea Faa Ipoipo (When Will You Marry?) by Paul Gauguin: $210 Million
French post-impressionist painter Paul Gauguin found himself somewhat tired of the sources of inspiration artists in the 19th century had in France. In order to find what he called primitive inspiration, he travelled to Tahiti. And although it wasn’t exactly what he expected, he still had something to show for it.
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One of the pieces to come out of this trip was the painting When Will You Marry?, one of several depictions of native women dressed in native clothing. At the time, it didn’t inspire much interest, but centuries later, it was sold for $210 Million. Perhaps the next buyer will be willing to extend the numbers even further.
3 The Card Players by Paul Cézanne: $250 Million
Yet another post-impressionist painter featured on this list is Paul Cézanne. He’s one of the artists we have to thank for the radical changes in the way art was both created and perceived between the 19th and 20th century. The Card Players are a series of paintings that were to precede Cézanne’s most acclaimed art pieces.
All the paintings in the series depict male subjects around a table playing cards and smoking pipes. One of the pieces was sold to the royal family of Qatar for the incredible amount of $250 Million. For a while, this particular painting was actually the most expensive in the world, surpassed only by the works that follow on this list.
2 Interchange by Willem de Kooning: $300 Million
Dutch-American abstract expressionist Willem de Kooning produced a series of extremely interesting and colourful work pieces over the several years in which he was active. And in 1955, he completed Interchange, which would mark a departure from his usual style due to the influence of one of his friends and mentors.
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Interchange, also known as Interchanged, is an oil painting that Kooning sold for $4000 dollars at the time, very soon after it was completed. Several decades later, the piece was sold for a whooping $300 Million to Kenneth C. Griffin, the same American businessman that bought Pollock’s Number 17A.
1 Salvator Mundi by Leonardo Da Vinci: $450.3 Million
Leonardo Da Vinci will always remain one of the most iconic figures in the world of art. This comes, of course, in addition to all the other ventures he immersed himself in during his lifetime. Even those who know absolutely nothing about art know exactly who Da Vinci is, and the extent of his genius.
Salvator Mundi was, for many years, thought to be a copy of the original piece that was lost long ago, most likely done by one of Leonardo’s apprentice. However, it became general consensus that the painting was actually the original, and in 2017 it surpassed Interchange by becoming the most expensive painting in the world – $450.3 Million expensive, to be more precise.
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