10 Most Expensive Paintings Ever Sold

This is a list of the highest known prices ever paid for paintings. This means that the list won’t include the most famous paintings in the world, as these artworks, and especially those prior to the 20th century, are held at museums and are rarely sold. All prices in this list are adjusted to inflation (this list was last updated in May 2015)

1. Nafea Faa Ipoipo (When Will You Marry?), Paul Gauguin (1982) – sold for about 300 Million USD –  Not very famous among the general crowd, this 1982 painting is the most expensive painting ever sold. It is oil on canvas, 101 by 77 cm (40 in × 30 in). The painting was sold in a private sale on February 2015, possibly to the state of Qatar

Paul_Gauguin_Nafea_Faa_Ipoipo

2. The Card Players, Paul Cézanne (1892-93) – sold for 274 Million USD – The Card Players is a series of oil painting by Paul Cézanne. The specific painting that was sold was of 97 x 130 cm (38 x 51 inch). It was bought by the State of Qatar at a private sale, on April 2011. This was held the record for the most expensive painting ever sold until February 2015

The Card Players, Paul Cézanne

The Card Players, Paul Cézanne

 

3. No. 6 (Violet, Green and Red), Mark Rothko (1951) – sold for 186 million USD – Purchased on August 2014 by Dmitry Rybolovlev, a Russian businessman, from the previous owner – Christian Moueix, a French winemaker

No_6_Violet_Green_and_Red_Mark_Rothko

4. Les Femmes d’Alger (“Version O”), Pablo Picasso (1955) – sold for 179.3 million USD – This painting is the latest entry in this list, sold on May 11, 2015. It is the most expensive Picasso painting ever sold. The painting is just one out of a series of paintings under the same name

Les_femmes_dAlger_Picasso

5. No. 5, 1948, Jackson Pollock (1948) – sold for 165.4 million USD – The painting of the American painter is 2.4 m x 1.2 m (8 ft × 4 ft), and it is oil on fiberboard. It was sold on November 2, 2006

No. 5, 1948, Jackson Pollock

No. 5, 1948, Jackson Pollock

 

6. Woman III, Willem de Kooning (1953) – sold for 162.4 million USD – Woman III is one painting of a series of six paintings that de Kooning done between 1951 and 1953 in which the central theme was a woman. It was sold for 162.4 million USD on November 18, 2006

Woman III, Willem de Kooning

Woman III, Willem de Kooning

7. Le Rêve, Pablo Picasso (1932) – sold for 158.5  million USD – Le Rêve, French for “The Dream”, is an oil painting by Pablo Picasso. The painting portraying Picasso’s 22 year-old mistress, and it is said to have been painted in a single afternoon! The painting measures 130 cm x 97 cm (51 in x 38 in). It was sold for the stated sum on March 26, 2013

Le Rêve, Pablo Picasso

Le Rêve, Pablo Picasso

 

8. Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I, Gustav Klimt (1907) – sold for 158.4 million USD – This portrait is the first of two portraits Klimt painted of Bloch-Bauersold. The 138 cm x 138 cm (54 in x 54 in) artwork was sold on June 18, 2006 at a private sale

Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I, Gustav Klimt

Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I, Gustav Klimt

 

9. Portrait of Dr. Gachet, Vincent van Gogh (1890) – sold for 152 million USD – The painting was done in 1890, the last year in van Gogh life. It depicts Dr. Paul Gachet who took care of Van Gogh during his last months. The oil painting is 67 cm × 56 cm (23.4 in × 22.0 in), and it was sold for the mentioned amount on May 15, 1990 at a Christie’s auction in New York

Portrait of Dr. Gachet, Vincent van Gogh

Portrait of Dr. Gachet, Vincent van Gogh

 

10. Three Studies of Lucian Freud, Francis Bacon (1969) – sold for 145 million USD – This artwork by the Irish-born British painter is made of three distinct sections. It is the latest painting of all the paintings on this list. It was sold on November 12, 2013 at a Christie’s auction in New York

Three Studies of Lucian Freud, Francis Bacon

Three Studies of Lucian Freud, Francis Bacon

 

As I keep this list updated, some paintings are pushed out of the top 10 list, but I’ll keep them up here:

11. Bal du moulin de la Galette, Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1876) – sold for 143.9 million USD – This famous work by Pierre-Auguste Renoir was painted in two versions. The large version is housed at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris and is one of Impressionism’s most celebrated masterpieces. The smaller version was sold on May 17, 1990 at a Sotheby’s auction. It is also the oldest painting in this list

Bal du moulin de la Galette, Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Bal du moulin de la Galette, Pierre-Auguste Renoir

12. Garçon à la pipe, Pablo Picasso (1905) – sold for 131.1 million USD – Picasso painted this work when he was only 24 years old, living in the Montmartre section of Paris. The painting is 100 cm × 81.3 cm (39.4 in × 32.0 in) oil on canvas and depicts a Parisian boy holding a pipe. It was sold on May 4, 2004

Garçon à la pipe, Pablo Picasso

Garçon à la pipe, Pablo Picasso

 

13. Salvator Mundi, Leonardo da Vinci (1490-1519) – sold for 127.5 million USD – This 45.4 cm × 65.6 cm (25.8 in × 17.9 in), oil on walnut painting of Christ, attributed to Leonardo da Vinci, was lost, rediscovered and restored, and finally exhibited in 2011. It was later sold on May 2013 to Dmitry Rybolovlev, a Russian businessman

Leonardo_da_Vinci_Salvator_Mundi

 

14. The Scream, Edvard Munch (1895) – sold for 124.2 million USD – Without a doubt the most famous piece in this list and one of the world’s most famous works of art. Edvard Munch actually created four versions of the work. The National Gallery in Oslo holds one version and the Munch Museum holds two other versions. The fourth version, from 1895, was sold at an Sotheby’s auction on May 2, 2012 for 119.9 million USD (which adjusted to inflation is 124.2 million USD)

The Scream, Edvard Munch

The Scream, Edvard Munch

      

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