Humans have always had a natural affinity for creating art, and over the last few centuries, we went from fairly basic imagery to increasingly beautiful and complex works that have long captured the imaginations for those that appreciate the finer arts. Many of the world’s more famous paintings – especially those that are tied to specific artists – are considered truly unique and priceless, meaning that it’s impossible to ever replace them.
For this reason, many of these artworks also have large asking prices, sometimes in the hundreds of millions. Here we will look at some of the most expensive paintings of all time and how much they eventually sold for.
Jackson Pollock is regarded as one of the best artists of his generation, and there are few pieces that have captured the public more than his 1948 piece, Number 17A. It has been owned by many of the years, and currently it belongs to Kenneth C Griffin, who bought the piece in 2015 at an auction for $200 million, which was part of a larger $500 million deal that Griffin was involved in for two Pollock works. While the piece isn’t displayed for the public all the time, it travels around the world, where it’s displayed for periods at public museums, such as the Museum of Modern Art.
The Card Players
Not far behind Number 17A is the Card Players, which is one of the most expensive paintings ever sold. Created by Paul Cezanne, it’s part of a series of 5 other works that the French artist released in the late 1800s. Currently it’s owned by the Qatar Royal family, who bought it in 2011, and it’s reported that they paid double the record at the time for a piece of art sold at an auction. In total, the Royal family paid $250 million for the Card Players, making it as close to priceless as art can get.
Nafea Faa Ipoipo
This piece is based on a scene that post-impressionist Paul Gauguin experienced during his first trip to Tahiti. He spent much of his time creating paintings of the native women of the island, and this one particular is related to marriage. While it’s not the most valuable painting in the world, it did at one point hold the record. It would sell in 2015 for a massive $210 million, a figure that the seller and buyer eventually agreed on after two years of back-and-forth negotiations for the kind of money usually reserved for winners of sports betting sites.
Created by none other than master Leonardo da Vinci, Salvator Mundi is a depiction of Jesus Christ holding an orb, and currently holds the world record for being the most expensive painting ever sold. First commissioned in 1605, it was painted at the same time that da Vinci was working on the Mona Lisa. It currently belongs to the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, who purchased it for $450 million in total.