fri 18/08/2017

The Most Expensive Paintings Ever Sold | reviews, news & interviews

The Most Expensive Paintings Ever Sold

The Most Expensive Paintings Ever Sold

Works by Basquiat and Lichtenstein have joined an exclusive list. Who else is on it?

The 1990s was a fallow decade in which only two painters could command high prices
Jean-Michel Basquiat: Untitled, sold at auction in May 2017 for $110.5

This month a work by Jean-Michel Basquiat – Untitled, painted in 1982 – was sold at auction by Sotheby’s New York for $110.5 million. The buyer was Yusaku Maezawa, said to be the 14th richest person in Japan. Basquiat's name thus entered an exclusive club: the list of the 75 most expensive paintings sold in the last 30 years. Born in 1960, he becomes the list's youngest artist, working in the most recent period of activity (the oldest is Leonardo da Vinci, if he indeed did paint Salvator Mundi).

This list is based on prices at current values calculated by Wikipedia. It strays back three decades to the purchase of two Van Goghs. The big market surge came in 1989 when the record for an old master – Pontormo's Portrait of a Halberdier – was sold to the Getty Museum for what is now $68 million. The 1990s was a fallow decade in which only two painters could command high prices: Van Gogh (four entries) and Picasso (two). In 2006 the market suddenly rose for post-war work by De Kooning, Johns and Pollock. That year three paintings were sold for the equivalent of more than $160 million.

While paintings continued to go for eye-watering sums, the record held until 2011 when Cézanne’s The Card Players was sold for $259 million. The market has been at its most obscenely inflated in recent years. Seven of the top 75 sales happened in 2012, five in 2013, six in 2014, nine in 2015, five in 2016, and two this year (the other entry for 2017 is Roy Lichtenstein's Masterpiece.) The overwhelming majority of these works ended up in private hands.

The artists with the most entries hold few surprises. Picasso: 13. Van Gogh: eight. Warhol: seven. Rothko: six. De Kooning: four. Cézanne, Modigliani, Titian, Bacon: three. Johns, Monet, Lichtenstein, Klimt, Pollock, Newman: two.

Below is the list of the top, while the gallery overleaf shows some of the top 75, leading towards the most expensive in history.

 

  1. De Kooning: Interchange - $300m, sold 2015
  2. Gauguin: Nafea Faa Ipoipo (When Will You Marry?) - $300m, sold 2015
  3. Cézanne: The Card Players - $259m, sold 2011
  4. Pollock: Number 17A - $202m, sold 2015
  5. Rothko: No. 6 (Violet, Green and Red) - $188m, sold 2014
  6. Rembrandt: Pendant portraits of Maerten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppit - $182m, sold 2015
  7. Picasso: Les Femmes d'Alger ("Version O") - $181.2m, sold 2012
  8. Modigliani: Nu Couché - $172.2m, sold 2015
  9. Pollock: No. 5, 1948 - $166.3m, sold 2006
  10. De Kooning: Woman III - $163.4m, sold 2006
  11. Klimt: Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I - $160.4m, sold 2006
  12. Picasso: Le Rêve - $159.4m, sold 2013
  13. Van Gogh: Portrait of Dr. Gachet - $151.2m, sold 1990
  14. Klimt: Adele Bloch-Bauer II - $150m, sold 2016
  15. Lichtenstein: Masterpiece - $150m, sold 2017
  16. Bacon: Three Studies of Lucian Freud - $146.4m, sold 2013
  17. Renoir: Bal du moulin de la Galette - $143.2m, sold 1990
  18. Picasso: Garçon à la pipe - $132.1m, sold 2004
  19. Leonardo da Vinci: Salvator Mundi - $131.1m, sold 2012
  20. Munch: The Scream - $125.1m, sold 2012
  21. Modigliani: Reclining Nude With Blue Cushion - $123m, sold 2012
  22. Johns: Flag - $120.8m, sold 2010
  23. Picasso: Nude, Green Leaves and Bust - $116.9m, sold 2010
  24. Van Gogh: Portrait of Joseph Roulin - $115.9m, sold 1989
  25. Van Gogh: Irises - $113.6m, sold 1987
  26. Picasso: Dora Maar au Chat - $113.1m, sold 2006
  27. Warhol: Eight Elvises - $111.2m, sold 2008
  28. Basquiat: Untitled - $110.5m, sold 2017
  29. Newman: Anna's Light - $108.7m, sold 2013
  30. Warhol: Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster) - $108.4m, sold 2013
  31. Van Gogh: Portrait de l'artiste sans barbe - $105.1m, sold 1998
  32. Cézanne: La Montagne Sainte-Victoire vue du bosquet du Château Noir - $103m, sold 2013
  33. Rubens: Massacre of the Innocents - $102.1m, sold 2002
  34. Lichtenstein: Nurse - $96.4m, sold 2016
  35. Bacon: Triptych, 1976 - $96m, sold 2008
  36. Picasso: Les Noces de Pierrette - $95.3m, sold 1905
  37. Johns: False Start - $95m, sold 2006
  38. Van Gogh: A Wheatfield with Cypresses - $94.5m, sold 1993
  39. Picasso: Yo, Picasso - $92.5m, sold 1989
  40. Warhol: Turquoise Marilyn - $92.4m, sold 2007
  41. Titian: Portrait of Alfonso d'Avalos, Marquis of Vasto, in Armour with a Page - $91.1m, sold 2003
  42. Rothko: Orange, Red, Yellow - $90.6m, sold 2012
  43. Monet: Le Bassin aux Nymphéas - $89.6m, 2008
  44. Cézanne: Rideau, Cruchon et Compotier - $87m, 1989
  45. Newman: Black Fire I - $85.1m, 2014
  46. Rothko: White Center (Yellow, Pink and Lavender on Rose) - $84.1m, 200
  47. Van Gogh: Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers - $83.6m, 1987
  48. Warhol: Triple Elvis - $82.9m, 2014
  49. Warhol: Green Car Crash (Green Burning Car I) - $82.8m, 2007
  50. Rothko: No 10 - $82.8, sold 2015
  51. Monet: Meule - $81.4m, sold 2016
  52. Bacon: Three Studies for a Portrait of John Edwards - $81.7m, 2014
  53. Holbein: Darmstadt Madonna - est. $80m, 2011
  54. Titian: Diana and Actaeon - $78.8m, 2009
  55. Picasso: Au Lapin Agile - $78.6m, 1989
  56. Eakins: The Gross Clinic - $78.5m, 2007
  57. Rothko: No 1 (Royal Red and Blue) - $78.4m, 2012
  58. Picasso: Acrobate et jeune arlequin - $78m, 1988
  59. Picasso: Femme aux bras croisés - $76.5m, 2000
  60. Modigliani: Nude Sitting on a Divan ("La Belle Romaine") $75.7m, 2010
  61. De Kooning: Police Gazette - $75.4m, 2006
  62. Titian: Diana and Callisto - $74.8m, 2012
  63. Twombly: Untitled (New York City) - $71.3m, 2015
  64. Picasso: Femme assise dans un jardin - $71.2m, 1999
  65. Van Gogh: Peasant Woman Against a Background of Wheat - $70.9m, 1997
  66. Twombly: Untitled - $70.4m, 2014
  67. Warhol: Four Marlons - $70.4m, 2014
  68. Qi Baishi: Eagle Standing on Pine Tree - $69.7, 2011
  69. Warhol: Men in Her Life - $69.6m, 2010
  70. Picasso: La Gommeuse - $68.2m, 2015
  71. Picasso: Buste de femme (Femme à la résille) - $68.1m, 2015
  72. Pontormo: Portrait of a Halberdier - $68m, 1989
  73. Van Gogh: L’Allée des Alyscamps - $67m, 2015
  74. De Kooning: Untitled XXV - $66.3m, 2016
  75. Rothko: Untitled - $67m, 2016

Overleaf: browse a gallery of the world's most expensive paintings

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