Posted in Art

13 Most High-Priced Paintings in the World

They say that the best things in life are free. Well, yeah, that is most of the time true if you want to live simple without the influence of society and of the modern world. Contradicting to that belief is also a powerful message that most of us lived by nowadays and that is, “money makes the world go round.” Sadly, that is how I view the world, especially with all the commercials and advertisements of things you would do anything just to have one.

In this modern world, there are unlimited things that one can have, one can collect, and one can brag about. You may collect something that has meaning to you, things that remind of places you have been, or you just being a plain hoarder who collects trash and anything in between. There are sentimental things to collect which sometimes cost just a penny while there are some that requires you to be born a prince to even have one. The more expensive these collectible gets, the more prominent you become in the society. The word expensive equates to bucket loads of money just in case some of you might have other ideas beside it. Some of the most famous collectibles that only the rich and famous may have the chance to get a hold of are expensive cars, yachts, mansions, and the most absurd of all…paintings.

Expensive paintings are paintings that were created by famous dead artists that define art during their time. Some of these paintings may directly mirror the lives of the artists when they were still alive while some are just chaos and with no meaning at all. Either way, expensive paintings are some of the most sought after collectibles that each time it is sold to new owners, the price just bloats up to unimaginable numbers. For the most of us, even if we pawn our very own souls in exchange for money, it probably won’t be enough to obtain the cheapest of the paintings listed below. Do not fret though, once these paintings are acquired by museums and government, we may have the chance to see them and steal pictures with them when no security is looking (wink).


“Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I”, also called as “The Lady In Gold”, is a painting completed in 1907 by Austrian symbolist painter Gustav Klimt. This dazzling masterpiece was sold to an American businessman, art collector, philanthropist, and political activist Ronald Steven Lauder for an amounting price of 135 million USD. The “Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I” was later exhibited in Neue Galerie, New York.


“Woman III” is a painting created by William de Kooning. It is one of a succession of six paintings produced between 1951 and 1953 with using woman as the central subject. Woman III was completed in 1953 and measures 1.73 by 1.23 meters. This masterpiece was acquired by the American investor, hedge fund manager, and philanthropist Steven Cohen for a worth of 137.5 million USD.

NO. 5, 1948

The “No.5, 1948” is a masterpiece painted by American artist Jackson Pollock. The work of art was produced on composition board, measuring 8’ x 4’. The painting was sold to the Mexican investor David Martinez for a value of 140 million USD.


The “Three Studies of Lucian Freud” is an oil on canvas triptych art that was completed in year 1969 by Francis Bacon, an Irish-born British painter. This three hinged work of art was sold to Elaine Wynn for a price of 142.4 million USD.


Pablo Picasso’s “La Reve”, also known as “The Dream”, is one of the most sensual and famous paintings of the artist. The artwork is an epitome of the early Fauvism. It was sold to Steven Cohen for 155 million USD.


“Nu Couche”, or just the “Red Nude”, is an oil on canvas artwork done in year 1917 by Amadeo Modigliani, a popular Italian artist. This painting was regarded as one of the artist’s most widely replicated and exhibited paintings. “Nu Couche” was sold with a price of 170.4 million USD to Liu Yiqian, a Chinese art collector and businessman.


“Les Femmes d’Alger”, also branded as the “Women of Algiers”, is a sequence of 15 paintings created in the year 1955 by Pablo Picasso, a legendary Spanish cubist artist. This work of art was procured by Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, a former Prime Minister of Qatar, for a price of 179.4 million USD.


The portraits of Maerten Soolmans and his wife Oopjen Coppit, were two masterpieces done by the prominent Dutch artist Rembrandt in year 1634. Both of the portraits have been purchased by the Rijksmuseum and the Louvre for a value of 180 million USD. The said art pieces were exhibited at the Musée du Louvre.


“No. 6 (Violet, Green and Red)” is a painting done by Mark Rothko, a Russian-American Abstract expressionist artist. No. 6 is a blend of large breadths of color defined by jagged and hazy hues and was completed in 1951. Dmitry Rybolovlev, a Russian billionaire, paid $186 million for this masterpiece.


“Number 17A” is an artwork painted by a famous American Abstract Expressionist artist Jackson Pollock in year 1948. This work of art was sold for 200 million USD to Kenneth Griffin along with the “Interchange” painting.


“The Card Players” is a series of oil paintings done by the celebrated French Post-Impressionist artist Paul Cézanne in year 1892. A single piece of the said series was bought by the Royal Family of Qatar for a luxurious price ranging from 250 million to 300 million USD.

On the other hand, The Card Players painting series is regarded by critics to be a foundation of Cézanne’s art throughout the early-to-mid 1890s era.


“When Will You Marry?” or also known as “Nafea Faa Ipoipo”, is an oil-painting by Paul Gauguin, a French Post-Impressionist artist. The artwork was sold to Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad Al-Thani for the museum department of Qatar with a nearly amounting price of 300 million USD. The Tahitian inspired artwork was completed in year 1982.


“Interchange” is a masterpiece done by Willem de Kooning, a Dutch-American abstract expressionist artist. This renowned painting was sold to hedge fund billionaire Kenneth Griffin for the price of 300 million USD. The canvass measures 200.7 centimeters by 175.3 centimeters, and was completed in year 1955.

Posted in Art

10 Most Expensive Paintings Ever Sold in History

Outrageous – that’s the adjective I can come up with whenever I hear people buying paintings worth millions of dollars. But, it is just my initial reaction. I know that works of art can last forever if cared properly, much like jewelry. Paintings are good investments actually. They elevate the feel of a room. They are good conversation starters with sophisticated house guests. But, some are just too expensive, making this type of trade crazy.

Check out 10 of the most expensive paintings ever sold in the world based on the current prices, not the original ones:

10. “Woman III” (Willem de Kooning)

Willem de Kooning is a painter of abstract expressionism. “Woman III” is included in de Kooning’s series of paintings from 1951 to 1953. To be specific, this painting was finished in 1953. It spans 68 by 48 ½ inches.

Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art previously included this painting in its collection, specifically from the 1970s to the 1990s. However, after the 1979 revolution, the government prohibited exhibiting this artwork because of its claims about the bad effects of visual arts.

In 1994, Thomas Ammann Fine Art discreetly traded the painting with businessman David Geffen. Ammann preferred to have the rest of a Persian manuscript called the Tahmasbi Shahnameh which can be traced back to the 16th century. In 2006, Geffen successfully sold the painting to the billionaire Steven A. Cohen for the price of $137.5 million.

Steven A. Cohen

9. “No. 5, 1948” (Jackson Pollock)

Jackson Pollock is another painter who made a name for himself through abstract expressionism. “No. 5, 1948” remained as one of his most powerful and expensive paintings despite several changes he made. Once again, Cohen is the one who purchased this painting worth $140 million.

Steven A. Cohen

8. “Nu Couché” (Amedeo Modigliani)

The eighth most expensive painting is an erotic one from Italian painter Amedeo Modigliani. “Nu Couché” means “Red Nude” or “Reclining Nude.” It is an oil painting on canvas which was completed in 1917. It was sold for $170 million to another wealthy businessman Liu Yiqian during an art sale at Christie’s New York.

This artwork is included in the infamous series of nude paintings by Modigliani. The Italian artist only had one art exhibition in his whole lifetime. In 1917, his show was being held at the Galerie Berthe Weill when the police suddenly raided the event and stopped it. Christie’s noted during the painting’s sale last November 2015 that Modigliani just wanted to express that nudity is just part of modern art.

Liu Yiqian

7. “Les Femmes d’Alger” (Pablo Picasso)

Also known as “Women of Algiers,” “Les Femmes d’Alger” is a collection of 15 artworks from the iconic Spanish painter Pablo Picasso. Picasso is so popular until this generation that his name is already associated with cubism. “The Women of Algiers in their Apartment” by Eugène Delacroix is the inspiration of Picasso’s masterpiece.

First buyers of the whole series were Sally and Victor Ganz. In 1956, they bought it at the Galerie Louise Leiris located in Paris for the price of $212,500. Interestingly, they sold 10 of the series to the Saidenberg Gallery.

Since the series became individual paintings, the most expensive one is simply known as “Version O.” Christie’s New York auctioned this in 2015. The painting was purchased by the former prime minister of Qatar Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani for the price of $179.4 million.

Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani

6. “Pendant Portraits of Marten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppit” (Rembrandt)

The famous Dutch painter commonly known as Rembrandt painted these two full-length portraits of the married couple Oopjen Coppit and Marten Soolmans. From the Rothschild family, both the Rijksmuseum and the Louvre Museum gained the rights for the paintings in 2015. Each museum paid half the price of €160 million.

Rijksmuseum/Louvre Museum

5. “No. 6 (Violet, Green and Red)” (Mark Rothko)

It is a wonder why many of the most expensive paintings follow abstract expressionism. Here’s another example from the Russian-American painter Mark Rothko. “No. 6 (Violet, Green and Red)” was completed in 1951. It is similar to other paintings of Rothko – different colors of big coverage that are connected together through shading. Dmitry Rybolovley purchased this painting for €140 million during an exclusive sale.

Dmitry Rybolovley

4. “Number 17A” (Jackson Pollock)

Another masterpiece from Pollock, “Number 17A” was purchased by Kenneth C. Griffin from the David Geffen Foundation in 2015. It was worth $200 million.

Kenneth C. Griffin

3. “The Card Players” (Paul Cézanne)

Paul Cézanne is a French artist promoting the Post-Impressionist movement in his paintings. His most popular work is a series called “The Card Players.” These five artworks are oil paintings created during the 1890s. They differ in size, setting and number of card players. One of the paintings belongs to the most expensive artworks in history because of the Royal Family of Qatar’s purchase in 2011. Its price is estimated to be at least $250 million and maximum of $300 million.

Royal Family of Qatar

2. “When Will You Marry?” (Paul Gauguin)

Translated from the Tahitian title “Nafea Faa Ipoipo,” “When Will You Marry?” is an 1892 oil painting by the another French Post-Impressionist painter Paul Gauguin. In 2015, Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad Al-Thani purchased this for $300 million from the Staechelin family.

In 1891, Gauguin visited Tahiti and got inspiration there for his most notable artworks. He painted local women dressed in traditional clothing or just plain nude. He also captured Tahitian women wearing Western dresses. Historically speaking, it was said that Gauguin painted the natives as people who only love to sing and have sex. It is speculated that Gauguin earned so much money and fame in his time because of that.

Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad Al-Thani

1. “Interchange” (Willem de Kooning)

So far, this abstract expressionism painting titled “Interchange” is the most expensive painting ever sold in the world. Once again, de Kooning managed to produce an expensive artwork. Finished in 1955, the painting measures 200.7 by 175.3 centimeters. For the second time, Griffin purchased this from the David Geffen Foundation in 2015 for $300 million.

Kenneth C. Griffin

Final Thoughts

Like you, I was pretty overwhelmed when I first learned the prices of these paintings. Not to mention the simplicity of the artworks yet the intense fascination it gave to the curators and the buyers. Actually, there are existing artworks even more expensive than these paintings. Those paintings are already priceless, meaning they cannot be sold privately. One of which is the “Mona Lisa.”