Culture

These Masterpieces Are the Most Expensive Paintings Ever Sold

Do you have tens of millions of dollars laying around and need to fill some wall space in your living room? Check out these pricey ranked works of art and try to guess which painting takes the top spot. More

Pablo Picasso’s Les Repos, $ 36,920,500

Pablo Picasso’s masterpiece Le Repos, painted in 1932, was put on auction at Sotheby’s New York in 2018 and sold to a collector for the price of $36,920,500 with fees included, nearly five times the dollar figure it fetched at auction in 2000.

The work portrays Picasso’s beloved “Golden Muse” and mistress Marie-Thérèse Walter sleeping with her head (depicted in a Grecian profile) rested on her forearm as a perfect embodiment of serenity and calmness, physical beauty and sexual attractiveness.

Source: Will Picasso’s Le Repos, a Portrait of His “Golden Muse,” Marie-Thérèse Walter, Be the “Sleeper” Hit of the Upcoming Auction Season?

Andy Warhol’s Double Elvis, $ 37,000,000

Andy Warhol’s Double Elvis was auctioned in 2018 at Christie’s New York and sold for $37,000,000 with fees. The father of Pop Art was obsessed with both consumer culture and celebrities. He used many of them as subject matter, utilizing a variety of techniques and artistic expressions to state his view of contemporary art and culture.

One of his favorites was the king of rock and roll himself. This piece is one of several Warhol’s life-sized portraits of Elvis Presley.

Vincent van Gogh’s View of the Asylum and Chapel of Saint-Rémy, $ 39,687,500

Vincent van Gogh’s 1889 masterpiece Vue de l’asile et de la Chapelle Saint­-Paul de Mausole (Saint­-Rémy), or View of the Asylum and Chapel of Saint-Rémy, was sold at Christie’s New York for the price of $39,687,500.

This famous painting was once part of Elizabeth Taylor’s private collection. It was purchased in 1963 by her father, an art dealer, for the modest sum of $257,327. In 2012, an anonymous collector acquired the painting at the actress’s estate sale for $16 million.

Pan Tianshou’s View from the Peak, $ 41,391,324

The artwork of a traditional Chinese artist Pan Tianshou may not be highly recognized in America or Europe, but auction records from the Far East, China, in particular, show that his paintings are profoundly appreciated there.

His 1963 painting, View from the Peak, was sold in Beijing in 2018 for $41,391,324. The record holder when it comes to the work of this artist is a painting of a mountain and a stream which was purchased in 2015 for the sum of $50.6 million.

Jean­-Michel Basquiat’s Flexible, $ 45,315,000

Jean­-Michel Basquiat’s works have been some of the most consistent sellers in the art world for quite some time, so when his painting Flexible (painted on a picket fence near his studio) came onto the market, the expectations were understandably high.

Flexible was actioned in 2018 at Phillips New York with an estimated value of $20 million going into the event, but bidders soon pushed it past the $40 million mark. The painting eventually sold for $45,315,000, fees included.

Francis Bacon’s Study for Portrait, $ 49,812,500

Just like many other Francis Bacon’s works, Study for Portrait from 1977 was sought after on the art market. It was finally put on auction in 2018 at Christie’s New York and sold for $49,812,500 to an unnamed Christie’s client.

One of the most influential painters of postwar art, Bacon was widely known for using motifs of the disfigured, screaming heads, hanging flanks of meat and confronted lovers. Bacon reportedly painted this as a tribute to his lover, George Dyer.

Jackson Pollock’s Composition with Red Strokes $ 55,437,500

Jackson Pollock’s Composition with Red Strokes, painted in 1950, was sold at Christie’s New York for the sum of $55,437,500. Along with Autumn Rhythm (Number 30), Number One (Lavender Mist), Number 32 and Number 27, this painting represents one of the most significant works of Pollock’s 1950’s period.

Pollock’s first experiments of pouring and dripping paint on canvas surfaces date back to the early 1940s, but it was not until 1947 that he completely changed his approach to free-form work.

Source: Composition with Red Strokes

Pablo Picasso’s Sleeping Nude, $ 57,864,252

Pablo Picasso’s La Dormeuse, also known as the Sleeping Nude was auctioned and sold in 2018 at Phillips London for $57,864,252. Reportedly, that was Phillips’ largest sale ever in its 2220-year-long history.

La Dormeuse was painted in 1932 during one of Picasso’s highly productive and most fertile periods of his fascinating career. It portrays Marie-Thérèse Walter, Pablo’s lover and his muse at the time, whose face appears in several of Picasso’s paintings.

Su Shi’s Wood and Rock, $ 59,253,580

Wood and Rock, one of the world’s most valuable Chinese paintings, was sold at Christie’s Hong Kong for the amount of $59,253,580. According to sources, the sale failed to break the record for the highest price ever paid for a Chinese painting by approximately $4 million.

Wood and Rock is the work of Su Shi, a Chinese master painter famous for his 11th and 12th-century scrolls, and who was often referred to as the “Chinese da Vinci.”

Zao Wou-Ki’s Juin-­Octobre 1985, $ 65,197,304

Zao Wou-Ki’s Juin-­Octobre 1985 was sold at Hong Kong’s Sotheby’s for $65,197,304. The sale was quite profitable for Chang Qiu Dun, the Taiwanese businessman who purchased this massive work for $2.3 million in 2005.

Juin-­Octobre 1985 was the largest canvas ever done by this Chinese-French painter, one of the few modern Chinese artists who has received international recognition in the past decades. His works have been exhibited in many important retrospectives and are often collected by art institutions around the globe.