What is the Most Expensive Painting in The World? (Top 10 List)

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The art world is a dynamic, ever-changing landscape full of captivating works that have been sold for record prices. Many of these creations are iconic masterpieces and have captivated audiences for centuries. For one, the benefits of art cannot be understated. Art can enrich one’s life aesthetically, emotionally, or intellectually. More so, therapeutic arts and crafts can improve mental health, which is why they have become increasingly popular in modern times.

Aside from its health and wellness effects, art also has substantial monetary value. There are many advantages to fine art investing, such as appreciation over time and the potential to diversify a portfolio.

These reasons have made buying artwork increasingly popular. According to Statista, the global art market size reached 65.1 billion U.S. dollars in 2021 alone, demonstrating how much money can be made investing in art.

So, whether you’re looking for something to add to your private collection or just curious, understanding the most expensive paintings in the world can be a great starting point.

What is the most expensive painting in the world?

The most valuable painting in the world is Leonardo da Vinci’s “Portrait of Mona Lisa del Giocondo” or “Mona Lisa” for short. The painting was created in the early 15th century and has been described as the quintessential example of Renaissance art. It has been praised for its unique composition, light and shading use, and technique mastery.

Who was Mona Lisa?

Many have been wondering why is the Mona Lisa so famous. And many accounts agree that the painting’s fame is rooted in its mysterious subject, Lisa Gherardini. Gherardini was born into a family of wealthy Florentine silk merchants. In 1504, she married Francesco di Giocondo and had five children with him. It has been said that Leonardo painted this portrait to commemorate her marriage.

How much is Mona Lisa worth?

There is no definitive answer as to how much the Mona Lisa is worth because it is a priceless, one-of-a-kind painting that is not for sale. However, the work done by Leonardo da Vinci can be estimated according to its insurance value. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the Mona Lisa was insured for $100 million in 1962, which would be equivalent to worth over 860 million dollars today.

What made the Mona Lisa famous?

As the masterwork of Leonardo da Vinci, the Mona Lisa can be credited for its artistic brilliance. Though some had said that it might not have been instantly recognized as a masterpiece when it was first painted, people have since come to marvel at its iconic subject and composition. The painting has become even more popular due to various stories and rumors surrounding it. For instance, it is believed that the mysterious Mona Lisa had a secret smile, which has captivated onlookers and kept them pondering for centuries.

What are the 10 most expensive paintings in the world?

Salvator Mundi by Leonardo da Vinci

The Salvator Mundi, or ‘Savior of the World’ painting, is an artwork by the Italian master Leonardo da Vinci. It was painted around 1500 and is believed to be the last painting that’s attributed to him. The work depicts Jesus Christ in a Renaissance dress, holding a crystal orb in his left hand while making a blessing gesture with his right hand.

The painting was displayed at the National Gallery in London for five years before it was sold for a whopping 450 million U.S. dollars at Christie’s contemporary art event in 2016, making it the most expensive painting ever sold.

Interchange by Willem de Kooning

Dutch-American painter Willem de Kooning’s Interchange painting is one of the most renowned contemporary artworks in the world. Kooning is known to be a pioneer in America’s first modern art movement, Abstract Expressionism, but is later influenced by Franz Kline’s gestural style.

Interchange shifted Kooning’s subject matter from painting women to painting abstract urban landscapes. It was painted in 1955 and contained a range of abstract forms, making it an aesthetically interesting work of art. The highly acclaimed piece of contemporary art was sold for 300 million U.S. dollars in 2015, marking it as the second most expensive painting in the world.

The Card Players by Paul Cézanne

This famous oil painting was created by the French Post-Impressionist painter Paul Cézanne in the 1890s. The painting, which was painted between 1890 and 1895, is a series of five paintings showing male farmhands playing cards.

This particular painting was purchased for 250 million U.S. dollars by a Royal Family of Qatar in 2011, making it one of the most expensive contemporary art pieces in the world.

Nafea Faa Ipoipo? (When Will You Marry?) by Paul Gauguin

This 1892 painting is part of a series that Paul Gauguin produced in Tahiti. The painting depicts two young women sitting in a lush Tahitian landscape inspired by the traditional Polynesian way of life.

Nafea Faa Ipoipo? was sold on a private sale for around $300 million U.S. dollars in 2015, although its buyers remain anonymous.

Number 17A by Jackson Pollock

This abstract expressionist painting is loaned to the Art Institute of Chicago and was created by the American painter Jackson Pollock in 1948. Number 17A is a large canvas painting made up of oil paint, enamel, and aluminum paint drippings on canvas.

The painting measures 8 feet 2 inches by 11 feet 9 inches and is one of the largest canvases Pollock ever painted. In 2017, it was purchased for 200 million U.S. dollars in a private sale, making it the fifth most expensive painting in the world.

Water Serpents II by Gustav Klimt

Commonly known as one of the leading Austrian painters, Gustav Klimt’s Water Serpents II is also one of the most expensive contemporary art pieces in the world. The painting was created between 1907 and 1909 and portrays female relationships and the female life cycle.

Water Serpents II was sold for a whopping 170 million U.S. dollars in 2016 and is now in a private collection, yet to be displayed again.

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

This abstract oil painting was created by the American painter Mark Rothko in 1951. The work is an abstract expressionist art piece that uses vibrant colors to express emotion and experience.

No. 6 (Violet, Green, and Red) was purchased by a Russian billionaire, according to art dealer Yves Bouvier in 2014 for a staggering 186 million U.S. dollars and is currently privately held.

Maerten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppit by Rembrandt van Rijn

These two artworks were created by the Dutch painter Rembrandt van Rijn in 1634. The art pieces are a pair of full-length wedding portraits depicting Oopjen Coppit and Maerten Soolmans on their big day.

The artworks were purchased together for 180 million U.S. dollars by the Louvre Paris and Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam in 2016. This made them the eighth most expensive artworks of all time.

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

This 1955 painting by the Spanish artist Pablo Picasso is a renowned cubist art piece. It shows 11 figures of women against an abstract background inspired by Delacroix’s Femmes d’Alger.

Les Femmes d’Alger was sold for 179.4 million U.S. dollars in 2015 and is now owned by a private art collector.

Nu Couché by Amedeo Modigliani

Famous painter Amedeo Modigliani created this art piece in 1917, and is one of the most valuable artworks of all time. It portrays a nude woman reclining on a bed with her hands by her side, which challenges conventions about art at the time.

The painting was sold for 170 million U.S. dollars in 2015, making it the tenth most expensive art piece in the world.

What is the most expensive painting you can buy?

Among the most famous paintings today, the Salvator Mundi art piece is the most expensive painting in the world that you can buy. Although the most valuable is the Mona Lisa, the art piece is not for sale and has only been insured.

Other Notable Paintings

There are many other expensive paintings ever sold, and below are some of the most iconic artworks that you don’t want to miss.

Portrait of Dr. Gachet by Vincent van Gogh

Known as a special art piece by the Dutch painter, this art work was sold for 82.5 million U.S. dollars in 1990. It features a portrait of Dr. Gachet, a long-time art collector who has been helping van Gogh during his last years.

Twelve Landscape Screens by Qi Baishi

This art piece by the Chinese painter Qi Baishi was sold for 140 million U.S. dollars in 2018, making it one of the most expensive artworks ever sold at an auction. The artwork consists of 12 landscape paintings with a traditional style that demonstrates his mastery of the art.

Woman III by Willem de Kooning

Woman III, another art piece by Willem de Kooning, is also one of the most expensive artworks ever sold. It was purchased for 176 million U.S. dollars in 2006 and is transferred to David Geffen by Thomas Ammann Fine Art.

Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I and II by Gustav Klimt

Originally painted for the art collector Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer, these artworks were stolen by the Nazis during World War II. However, the art pieces were returned in 2006 and were sold for 170 million U.S. dollars to private art collectors.

Le Rêve by Pablo Picasso

An oil on canvas portrait by Pablo Picasso, Le Rêve, was sold for 155 million U.S. dollars in 2013 to the art collector Steven Cohen. The artwork depicts Picasso’s mistress and muse, Marie-Thérése Walter, painted with a thick texture of brush strokes and bright colors.

No 5, 1948 by Jackson Pollock

Abstract expressionist movement painter Jackson Pollock created artworks with intricate drizzles of paint on canvas, and this art piece is no different. It was sold for 140 million U.S dollars in 2006 to art collector David Geffen.

Nu Couché (Sur Le Côté Gauche) by Amedeo Modigliani

Another artwork by Amedeo Modigliani, this painting was sold for 157.2 million U.S. dollars in 2018 at Christie’s art auction event in New York City. The art piece was painted in 1917 as a part of Modigliani’s series of artworks featuring nude models. It has been noted for its artful composition and use of colors.

These artworks demonstrate the immense wealth of art history, as well as its art’s substantial monetary value. From one-of-a-kind masterpieces to rare contemporary works, art collectors and art investors alike can find great investment opportunities in fine art. However, as with all investments, it is important to be aware and informed of the art market before jumping in. So, with this knowledge in mind, art enthusiasts can begin their journey into art investment.

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