21 Most Expensive Paintings That Shook The Art World

Updated: Nov 7


A collage of the Most Expensive Paintings - Nafea Faa Ipoipo & The Standard Bearer
Nafea Faa Ipoipo & The Standard Bearer | Source: Paul Gauguin, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons & Art UK

The elaborative journey of art is a never-ending stream of artistry with distinguishing pigments laid upon any canvas. A day before, as I was learning about one of the finest artists from the Dutch golden age of art, Johannes Vermeer, a minute word came to my notice, Price! As much as it holds true that any figure in the world can't negotiate with the artistry from the past, there are some of the finest artworks with a massive tag, making them the most expensive paintings to exist. Today, as we indulge in seeing through the beauty of these frames, we will also analyze their price metric (according to the last auction) in descending order.


Additionally, I will try to include details such as the artist who made the artwork, their current owner, and where you can view them in person if available.


So, without further ado, let's get started!


21 Most Expensive Paintings Sold At Any Auction.


1. Salvator Mundi by Leonardo da Vinci.


Artist of painting

​Leonardo da Vinci (1452 - 1519)

When was it painted

Around 1500

Dimensions of painting

66 cm x 45 cm

Current owner of painting

Prince Badr bin Abdullah

Price paid for painting

$450.3 Million


It is an artwork by Leonardo Da Vinci commissioned around 1500. After being presumed lost for a long time, it was recovered and restored in 2011-12 in the National Art Museum of London. The painting displays the renaissance of Jesus Christ with the cross in his right hand and a crystal ball in his left hand.


In 2017, it was auctioned for $450.3 Million by Christie's to Prince Badr bin Abdullah, making it the most expensive painting in the world, to appear at auction.


Salvator Mundi, Most Expensive Painting By Leonardo Da Vinci
Salvator Mundi By Leonardo Da Vinci


2. Interchange by Willem de Kooning.


Artist of painting

Willem de Kooning (1904 - 1997)

When was it painted

​1955

Dimensions of painting

200.7 cm × 175.3 cm

Current owner of painting

Kenneth C. Griffin

Price paid for painting

$300 Million


An abstract expressionist oil painting, by Dutch painter Willem de Kooning, Interchange was completed in 1955. If you look closely, the subject is basically the transition of the artist from a woman to natural landscape. It features a woman in pink sitting at its centre in a seated position. Originally sold by the artist for $4000 in 1955; it was auctioned to Kenneth C. Griffin in September 2015 for $300 Million, making it one of the most expensive paintings ever sold.


The second most expensive art, Interchange by Willem de Kooning
Interchange Artwork By Willem de Kooning | Source: Tallenge Store

3. The Card Players by Paul Cézanne.


Artist of painting

Paul Cézanne (1839 - 1906)

When was it painted

1894 - 1895

Dimensions of painting

47.5 cm × 57 cm

Current owner of painting

State of Qatar

Price paid for painting

$250 Million


The artwork is a series of five oil paintings by the French artist Paul Cézanne. It depicts Provencal peasants who are either way gambling with their eyes down or playing cards. Even though Cézanne painted five paintings of card players, the final three are similar in composition and number of players (two), so they are sometimes grouped together as one. It was auctioned in the year 2011, purchased by the State of Qatar at the price of $250 Million.




4. Nafea Faa Ipoipo / When will you marry by Paul Gauguin.


Artist of painting

Paul Gauguin (1848 - 1903)

When was it painted

1892

Dimensions of painting

101 cm x 77 cm

Current owner of painting

State of Qatar

Price paid for painting

$210 Million


When will you marry is an artwork based on Tahitian culture by famous French artist Paul Gauguin. When he was in search of inspiration, he found Tahitian culture to be the best, but the European outbreak of diseases completely destroyed their culture. He portrayed two ladies here where the red dress girl waits for her marriage and her partner, whereas the high-collared woman's postures direct us some alarm or warning. In 2014, the artwork sold for close to $210 million in a private sale auction to State of Qatar.



5. Number 17A by Jackson Pollock.


Artist of painting

Jackson Pollock (1912 - 1956)

When was it painted

1948

Dimensions of painting

112 cm x 86.5 cm

Current owner of painting

David Geffen

Price paid for painting

$200 Million


The abstract painting comes under expressionist artwork by the famous artist Jackson Pollock. It is oil paint on fiberboard created by dipping and splashing the paint on the canvas. The artist introduced the Drip style technique, painted in August 1949. In 2015, David Geffen bought it for $200 Million.


5th most expensive art, Number 17A by Artist Jackson Pollock
Number 17A By Jackson Pollock | Source: Kent Baldner | Flickr


6. The Standard Bearer by Rembrandt.


Artist of painting

Rembrandt (1606 - 1669)

When was it painted

1636

Dimensions of painting

118.8 cm × 96.8 cm

Current owner of painting

Rijksmuseum

Price paid for painting

$150 Million


The painting is a portrait by Rembrandt, which was in the formerly collection of Elie de Rothschild (since 1844). When the artist moved to Amsterdam from Leiden, he displayed it in the form of this artwork. The Dutch government purchased it for $150 Million at a private sale from the Rothschild family.


The Standard Bearer, 6th most expensive painting in the world by Rembrandt
The Standard Bearer Painting By Rembrandt | Source: Art UK

7. Shot Sage Blue Marilyn by Andy Warhol.


Artist of painting

Andy Warhol (1928 - 1987)

When was it painted

1964

Dimensions of painting

101.6 x 101.6 cm

Current owner of painting

Larry Gagosian

Price paid for painting

$195 Million


Shot Sage Blue Marilyn is one of the four of Marilyn Monroe's silk-screen depictions by Andy Warhol. Initially sold for $5000 in 1967 to Peter Bryant, the art piece grabbed headlines when Larry Gagosian, an American art dealer, bought it for a whopping $195 Million at a Christie's auction in 2022 making it 7th of the most expensive paintings ever sold.


7th most expensive painting in the world, Shot sage blue marilyn by Andy Warhol
Shot sage blue marilyn by Andy Warhol | Source: Christie's


8. No. 6 (Violent Green and Red) by Mark Rothko.


Artist of painting

Mark Rothko (1903 - 1970)

When was it painted

1951

Dimensions of painting

235 cm × 330 cm

Current owner of painting

Dmitry Rybolovlev

Price paid for painting

€140 Million


The shades of uneven colour are characteristic of the abstract expressionist Mark Rothko's 1951 painting. As a result of the rich mixture of red, blue, and black, it resembles eye-catching colours. It became the 8th of the most expensive paintings in 2014 when Dmitry Rybolovlev purchased it for €140 Million.


No. 6 Artwork By Mark Rothko
No. 6 Painting By Mark Rothko | Source: markrothko.org

9. Wasserschlangen II by Gustav Klimt.


Artist of painting

Gustav Klimt (1862 - 1918)

When was it painted

1904 - 1907

Dimensions of painting

80 cm × 145 cm

Current owner of painting

Dmitry Rybolovlev

Price paid for painting

$170 Million


The oil painting, also called Water Serpents 2, made by Gustav Klimt, has been the centre of controversy and attraction in 2013 due to its long history of being stolen by Nazis. It portrays the magical colours in lustful bliss. The subject shows nudity with their heads visible and bodies lying on each other. A common artistic tradition for centuries has been depicting mythical figures in noncontroversial ways. Nevertheless, it has also been interpreted as a representation of a lesbian orgy. The following artwork sold for $170 Million to Dmitry Rybolovlev.


Wasserschlangen II, 9th most expensive painting in the world by Gustav Klimt
Wasserschlangen II Artwork By Gustav Klimt


10. Pendant portraits of Maerten Soolmans And Oopjen Coppit by Rembrandt.


Artist of painting

Rembrandt (1606 - 1669)

When was it painted

1634

Dimensions of painting

210 cm × 134.5 cm

Current owner of painting

Rijksmuseum and Louvre

Price paid for painting

$160 Million


The artwork displays a wedding portrait of Marten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppit in 1634. The Rothschild family formerly owned this exquisite piece of art painted by Rembrandt. Despite being painted separately, both subjects are always hung together. The artwork's regular appearance in period inventories indicates that they are among Rembrandt's strongest works.


Pendant portraits of Maerten Soolmans And Oopjen Coppit was sold for $160 Million to Rijksmuseum and Louvre at a private sale in 2016.


Pendant portraits of Maerten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppit Painting By Rembrandt
Pendant portraits of Maerten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppit Painting By Rembrandt | Source: The Guardian

11. Les Femmes d'Alger ("Version O") by Pablo Picasso.


Artist of painting

Pablo Picasso (1881 - 1973)

When was it painted

1955

Dimensions of painting

114 cm × 146.4 cm

Current owner of painting

Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani

Price paid for painting

$179.4 Million


The Les Femmes d'Alger is a series of 15 paintings with different versions; painted by famous Spanish artist Pablo Picasso. It was a tribute to the artists whom Pablo loved and admired through his artwork.


Christie's auctioned the painting in 2015 for $179.4 Million to Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani.


Les Femmes d'Alger (Version "O"), 11th of the most expensive paintings by Pablo Picasso
Les femmes d’Alger, version O by Pablo Picasso | Source: Christie's


12. Nu couche by Amedeo Modigliani.


Artist of painting

Amedeo Modigliani (1884 - 1920)

When was it painted

1917

Dimensions of painting

60 cm × 92 cm

Current owner of painting

Liu Yiqian

Price paid for painting

$170 Million


Nu couche, or the reclining nude, is among the many sensuous art frames painted by Amedeo Modigliani in his career. Although it is unknown who the Italian Artist painted here, Nu couche accounted for far exceeding the previous records and fetching $170 Million at Christie’s New York. The painting is now part of the private gallery of the Chinese billionaire Liu Yiqian.


Nu Couche, most expensive art of Amedeo Modigliani
Nu Couche by Amedeo Modigliani | Source: Christie's

13. Masterpiece by Roy Fox Lichtenstein.


Artist of painting

Roy Fox Lichtenstein (1923 - 1997)

When was it painted

1962

Dimensions of painting

137 cm × 137 cm

Current owner of painting

Steven A. Cohen

Price paid for painting

$165 Million


Known for pop art paintings with comedic messages, Roy Lichtenstein painted Masterpiece in 1962, portraying his career in a witty yet prescient way. The artwork came into the news when Steven A. Cohen bought it from Agnes Gund in 2017 for $165 Million, making it the 13th most expensive painting in the world.


Masterpiece, a pop artwork by Roy Lichtenstein
Masterpiece by Roy Lichtenstein | Source: Happymag.tv


14. Nu Couché (Sur le Côté Gauche) by Amedeo Modigliani.


Artist of painting

​Amedeo Modigliani (1884 - 1920)

When was it painted

1917

Dimensions of painting

89 cm x 146 cm

Current owner of painting

Unknown

Price paid for painting

$157.2 Million


Another Modigliani art frame among the most expensive paintings is Nu Couché (Sur le Côté Gauche) which displays a naked woman on a white couch and dark background and gazing backwards at the viewer. The painting attended a 2018 Sotheby's auction where an unknown buyer bought it for a heavy $157.2 Million and made it one of the most expensive paintings by Modigliani.


Nu Couché (Sur le Côté Gauche), 2nd most expensive painting of Amedeo Modigliani
Nu Couché (Sur le Côté Gauche) by Amedeo Modigliani | Source: Christie's

15. Le Rêve by Pablo Picasso.


Artist of painting

Pablo Picasso (1881 - 1973)

When was it painted

1932

Dimensions of painting

130 cm × 97 cm

Current owner of painting

Steven A. Cohen

Price paid for painting

$155 Million


Painted in only an afternoon, Le Rêve (English: The Dream) is a portrayal of Marie-Thérèse Walter, mistress of Picasso. The erotic artwork with oversimplified lines, contrasting colours and resembling early cubism grabbed $155 Million in a private sale to Steven A. Cohen in 2013.


Le Rêve artwork by Pablo Picasso
Le Rêve by Pablo Picasso | Source: Succession Picasso / DACS London


16. Portrait Of Adele Bloch Bauer II by Gustav Klimt.


Artist of painting

Gustav Klimt (1862 - 1918)

When was it painted

1912

Dimensions of painting

190 cm × 120 cm

Current owner of painting

Unknown

Price paid for painting

$150 Million