Top 10 Most Expensive Painting Ever Sold

Title: Top 10 Most Expensive Paintings Ever Sold: A Glimpse into the Art Market


The world of art holds an undeniable allure, with its ability to captivate and inspire. Throughout history, numerous paintings have achieved remarkable status, both for their artistic significance and their astronomical price tags. In this article, we delve into the top 10 most expensive paintings ever sold, providing insights into their value, artists, and the stories behind their creation.

1. “Salvator Mundi” by Leonardo da Vinci – $450.3 million (2017):

Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece, “Salvator Mundi,” takes the crown as the most expensive painting ever sold. Depicting Christ as the Savior of the World, this oil painting was created around 1500 and rediscovered in 2005. Its sale in 2017 sparked global fascination and shattered previous records.

2. “Interchange” by Willem de Kooning – $300 million (2015):

Willem de Kooning’s abstract expressionist artwork, “Interchange,” fetched an impressive $300 million in a private sale. Created in 1955, this vibrant painting showcases the artist’s mastery in blending colors and textures.

3. “The Card Players” by Paul Cézanne – $250 million (2011):

Paul Cézanne’s post-impressionist masterpiece, “The Card Players,” graces the list with a staggering price of $250 million. Painted between 1890 and 1892, this series of oil paintings captures the simplicity and intrigue of rural life.

4. “Nafea Faa Ipoipo?” by Paul Gauguin – $210 million (2015):

Paul Gauguin’s vibrant masterpiece, “Nafea Faa Ipoipo?” (When Will You Marry?), fetched a remarkable $210 million at auction. Painted in 1892, this Tahitian scene showcases Gauguin’s fascination with the South Pacific.

5. “Number 17A” by Jackson Pollock – $200 million (2015):

Jackson Pollock’s abstract expressionist artwork, “Number 17A,” pushed the boundaries of conventional painting techniques. This dynamic piece, created in 1948, captivates viewers with its intricate layers of dripped paint.

6. “No. 6 (Violet, Green and Red)” by Mark Rothko – $186 million (2014):

Mark Rothko’s iconic abstract painting, “No. 6 (Violet, Green and Red),” fetched an astonishing $186 million. Painted in 1951, this piece exemplifies Rothko’s signature style, where large rectangular blocks of color evoke emotional responses.

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7. “Les Femmes d’Alger (Version O)” by Pablo Picasso – $179.4 million (2015):

Pablo Picasso’s vibrant and cubist masterpiece, “Les Femmes d’Alger (Version O),” sold for $179.4 million at auction. Created in 1955, this painting pays homage to Picasso’s fascination with female subjects.

8. “Nu Couché” by Amedeo Modigliani – $170.4 million (2015):

Amedeo Modigliani’s sensuous masterpiece, “Nu Couché,” fetched a staggering $170.4 million at auction. Painted in 1917-1918, this reclining nude emphasizes the artist’s unique blend of classical influences and modern abstraction.

9. “Wasserschlangen II” by Gustav Klimt – $170.4 million (2013):

Gustav Klimt’s mesmerizing artwork, “Wasserschlangen II” (Water Serpents II), sold for $170.4 million. Painted between 1904 and 1907, this piece showcases Klimt’s fascination with the female form and decorative patterns.

10. “Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer II” by Gustav Klimt – $150 million (2016):

Another masterpiece by Gustav Klimt, “Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer II,” rounds off the list with a price tag of $150 million. Painted in 1912, this portrait beautifully captures the elegance and grace of Adele Bloch-Bauer.

8 Interesting Facts about the Most Expensive Paintings:

1. “Salvator Mundi” was once mistaken for a copy and bought for just $1,195 in 2005 before being authenticated as an original Leonardo da Vinci.

2. “Interchange” was once owned by media mogul David Geffen, who sold it to hedge fund billionaire Kenneth C. Griffin.

3. “No. 6 (Violet, Green and Red)” was sold by philanthropist David Rockefeller, who donated the proceeds to charity.

4. “Nu Couché” caused a scandal when it was first exhibited due to its provocative subject matter.

5. The sale of “Les Femmes d’Alger (Version O)” broke the previous record for the most expensive artwork sold at auction.

6. “The Card Players” series consists of five paintings, four of which are displayed in prominent museums worldwide.

7. “Nafea Faa Ipoipo?” was sold by a Swiss collector to the state of Qatar, making it one of the most expensive artworks ever purchased by a state.

8. “Wasserschlangen II” is considered one of Gustav Klimt’s most important works and a testament to his golden phase.

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16 Common Questions about the Most Expensive Paintings:

1. What makes these paintings so valuable?

The value of these paintings is driven by their rarity, historical significance, artistic mastery, and demand among collectors.

2. Who were the artists behind these masterpieces?

These paintings were created by renowned artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Willem de Kooning, Paul Cézanne, Paul Gauguin, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Pablo Picasso, Amedeo Modigliani, and Gustav Klimt.

3. Are these paintings accessible to the public?

Some of these paintings are displayed in galleries and museums, while others belong to private collectors and are occasionally loaned for exhibitions.

4. How do these prices compare to previous records?

The prices of these paintings shattered previous records, highlighting the growing demand and appreciation for fine art.

5. Who are the buyers of these expensive artworks?

The buyers often include private collectors, institutions, and museums aiming to enrich their collections or make investments.

6. Are there any replicas or copies of these paintings?

Replicas or copies exist for some of these paintings, but the original works hold significantly higher value due to their historical importance and authenticity.

7. Can these paintings appreciate in value over time?

Artworks by renowned artists have a history of appreciating in value over time, making them attractive investment options.

8. Are there any controversies surrounding these sales?

Controversies occasionally arise, such as disputes over provenance or debates on the ethics of paying exorbitant amounts for art.

9. How were these paintings sold? Through auctions or private sales?

Some of these paintings were sold through highly publicized auctions, while others were acquired through private sales.

10. How do these prices compare to the artists’ lifetime earnings?

The prices achieved for these paintings often far exceed the artists’ lifetime earnings, underlining their enduring legacy and the appreciation for their work.

11. Are any of these paintings insured?

Private collectors and institutions often insure valuable artworks against theft, damage, or loss.

12. Can the average person ever hope to own such a valuable artwork?

While owning one of these masterpieces may be out of reach for the average person, the art market offers various accessible avenues for art appreciation and collecting.

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13. What impact do these high prices have on the art market?

The high prices of these paintings influence the art market by setting benchmarks for similar works, stimulating investor interest, and attracting attention to the art world.

14. Are there any plans for public exhibitions of these paintings in the future?

Public exhibitions are periodically organized to showcase these renowned artworks, offering people the opportunity to admire them.

15. Are there any other notable paintings that narrowly missed making the list?

Several other paintings have achieved remarkable prices but narrowly missed making it onto this list, showcasing the diversity and depth of the art market.

16. Will the prices of these paintings continue to rise in the future?

While the art market can be unpredictable, the rarity and historical significance of these masterpieces suggest that their value may continue to appreciate over time.


The top 10 most expensive paintings ever sold are a testament to the enduring allure of art and the profound impact it has on our society. These masterpieces by legendary artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Willem de Kooning, Paul Cézanne, and others have not only broken records but have also left an indelible mark on the art world. As these paintings continue to captivate audiences and influence the market, their value serves as a reminder of the timeless power of artistic expression.


  • Susan Strans

    Susan Strans is a seasoned financial expert with a keen eye for the world of celebrity happenings. With years of experience in the finance industry, she combines her financial acumen with a deep passion for keeping up with the latest trends in the world of entertainment, ensuring that she provides unique insights into the financial aspects of celebrity life. Susan's expertise is a valuable resource for understanding the financial side of the glitzy and glamorous world of celebrities.

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