10 Most Expensive
Paintings Ever Sold
There are a few top 10 most expensive paintings lists out there, however, I've noticed they often fail to include both public and more importantly private sales. It's for that reason I've put together this DEFINITIVE top 10 list of the most expensive paintings ever sold.I've tried to be as inclusive as possible with this list by converting the astronomical fees paid for these masterpieces into British Pounds and Euros as well as the usual U.S. Dollars. Exchange rates are correct as of the date of this post.
10. Francis Bacon
$86.3m - £53.46m - €61.01m Sotheby's New York , May 2008. Buyer: European private
Francis Bacon is one of the most sought-after names in the Art market, and this work easily surpassed its impressive $70 million pre-sale estimate.
9. Gustav Klimt
"Adele Bloch-bauer II" (1912)
$87.9m - £54.45m - €62.14m Christie's New York , November 2006. Buyer: Anonymous
Sold only a few months later than Klimt's first version of Adele, this extremely appealing canvas was the star lot in a highly successful auction in which four works by Klimt, including this, totalled a stunning $192 million.
"Diana and Actaeon" (1559)
$91m - £56.37m - €64.33m Private sale, February 2009. Buyer: United Kingdom.
This work have all the splendor and glory of the best of Titian's 'painted potteries'. It was previously at the Duke of Sutherland collection, who offered it to the U.K. It has a "sister picture", "Diana and Callisto".
7. Pablo Picasso
"Dora Maar au chat" (1941)
$95.2m - £58.97m - €67.3m Sotheby's New York , May 2006. Buyer: Anonymous
Dora Maar (1907-1997) met Picasso in 1930, and their relationship lasted until 1946. A native from Paris, raised in Argentina and therefore fluent in Spanish, Maar was one of Picasso's favourite models. This painting, measuring 130- 97 cm, was recently rediscovered and authenticated by Picasso's daughter, Maya Widmaier Picasso.
6. Andy Warhol
"Eight Elvises" (1963)
$100mm - £61.98m - €70.67m Private sale, 2008. Buyer: Anonymous
This unique work by Warhol, measuring over 12 feet long, had been at the collection of Roman collector Annibale Berlingieri for over 40 years. It surpassed the previous world record for a work by Warhol, the $71.7 million paid at Christie's New York in 2007 for "Green Car Crash"
5. Pablo Picasso
"Garcon a la pipe" (1904)
$104.1m - £64.52m - €73.56m Sotheby's New York , May 2004. Buyer: Anonymous
The sale of this young smoker was a milestone in the Art auctions world. It broke the record that Vincent van Gogh held since 1990, and it was the first time that the $100 million barrier was broken. Although the name of the buyer was not revealed, some sources says that he could be Guido Barilla, the Italian pasta magnate.
4. Pablo Picasso
"Nude Green Leaves and Bust" (1932)
$106.5m - £66m - €75.26m Christie's New York , May 2010. Buyer: Anonymous
This sensual and colorful masterpiece by Picasso is the most expensive painting ever sold at auction. The work, formerly in the collection of Mrs. Sidney F. Brody, hadn't been exhibited in public since 1961.
3. Gustav Klimt
"Adele Bloch-bauer I" (1907)
$135m - £83.67m - €95.4m Private sale, 2006. Buyer: Ronald Lauder.
The acquisition of this iconic work by cosmetic magnate Ronald Lauder caused a shock in the Art world, not only for the spectacular sum paid for it, but also for the way it was sold, far away from the noisy auction houses. The painting was part of a group of five canvases which had been recently returned to the heirs of Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer. The Nazis confiscated his paintings during the World War II, and after the war, the canvases were placed at the National Gallery of Austria in 1948.
2. Willem de Kooning
"Woman III" (1953)
$137.5m - £85.22m - €97.17m Private sale, 2006. Buyer: Steven A. Cohen
Hedge fund billionaire Steven A. Cohen privately scooped up "Woman III", adding to his personal collection, widely regarded as the greatest private collection in the world. It is the last painting in de Kooning's "Women" series still in private hands and has been called "the most important postwar painting that is not in a museum"
1. Jackson Pollock
"Number 5, 1948" (1948)
$140m - £#86.77 - €98.93m Private sale, 2006. Buyer: Anonymous (rumored to be Mexican businessman David Martinez)
Pollock first. De Kooning second. My immediate conclusion is that American abstract expressionism has displaced Impressionism as the most sought-after Art period. Right now, this stunning "drip" by Jackson Pollock is the most expensive painting ever sold, though the exact price was never confirmed (but the price displayed here is generally accepted to be true). The exorbitant sum demonstrates not only the strength of the Art market, but also, as I've touched upon the increasing interest for contemporary works of Art.