According to the Telegraph UK, the most expensive artwork in the world is Pablo Picasso’s “Women of Algiers (Version O)” which sold at auction in May 2015 for $179.3 million.
That record lasted less than a month before it was broken by the sale of Leonardo da Vinci’s “Salvator Mundi”, which sold at Christie’s New York on 15 November 2017 for $450,000.
(For more on that sale see The Most Expensive Painting )
The top 10 most expensive paintings ever sold are listed below with their prices in US dollars and year sold:
Picasso: Women of Algiers (Version O) – $179,364,000 – May 2015
Picasso: Les femmes d’Alger (version “O”) – 179,364,000 – May 2015
Edvard Munch: The Scream – $119,922,500 – May 2012
Klimt: Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I – $87,936,000 – June 2006
Van Gogh: Portrait du Dr Gachet – $82,500,000 – May 1990
Francis Bacon: Triptych – May-June 1988 (sold privately
The art world is very a competitive industry. Art is most expensive paintings are an integral part of this competitive industry. These paintings are so rare and precious that they are not usually displayed at regular galleries and museums where the majority of the world will see them.
It is the nature of the art world that only those people who have a certain amount of money to begin with will be able to afford to purchase these most expensive paintings. A large number of people simply do not have too much money to spend on such luxury items, no matter how attractive they may sound.
The majority of artwork that changes hands in auctions across the globe tend to be less expensive than those listed in this article. However, it is important to remember that these most expensive paintings are only sold at auction very rarely, and there will be many years in between sales, so the list may look very different in another decade or two’s time.
These most expensive paintings are often very old, but just as often they will be created by living artists. The list may change completely even within a year or two if more new works by living artists come onto the market for sale.
Have you ever daydreamed about what you would buy if you had a billion dollars? Perhaps a small nation or two, or perhaps a fine painting. Sure, it’s fun to think about. But have you ever thought that the most expensive artwork on earth might be a bad investment?
If the most expensive artwork is $300 million, and the second most expensive is $200 million, then logically the third most expensive should be worth $150 million. But if it’s worth $150 million then why isn’t anyone willing to buy it at that price? Why is it still sitting in an art gallery wishing for more money?
In order to get your million dollar painting, you have to compete against someone else with a billion dollars who also wants a painting. It’s like each of you is standing at opposite ends of the earth and trying to throw a bowling ball into the same alley. It just doesn’t happen.
Art is essentially a way to get attention. A work of art is a play for power; it says, “Look at me! Look at me!” And when it does that successfully, we say that it has artistic value.
The most expensive paintings are the ones with the most power. They are the ones that succeed in grabbing our attention in the biggest way. If you take any painting and make it a little bigger or brighter or more prominent, then suddenly everyone notices it. So why do they notice? Is it because the new one is better? Well, not really. It’s because you made it more noticeable. Art is essentially about being noticed and having power.
Telling someone to appreciate art for its moral value misses the point. Art isn’t immoral or amoral; it’s not doing anything morally at all. It’s a way to grab attention and show off. That’s what makes it valuable, and that’s why we keep making more of it.
Art21 (pronounced “Art-twenty-one”) is a not-for-profit arts organization based in New York City. Since its founding in 1996, Art21 has produced and distributed more than 500 programs that have aired on more than 300 public television stations nationwide reaching an audience of millions. The programs focus on the creative process and demonstrate how artists work in studios, museums, and other creative environments.
The art market is a fast moving and competitive environment. The value of an artwork can have a huge change in a short time. The reason for this is the market’s desire to drink up the thirst of wealthy investors. The biggest potential prices are made by works of art that come from famous artists’ hands.
Art is a powerful symbol of social status, even more than money or political power. Any rich person would be willing to spend big amounts on art, because it is a way to show off his social status in front of others. In this respect, the art market is similar to the diamond market where diamonds are used as jewelry and as symbols of wealth, power and love.
Taste in art has always been considered slightly ridiculous and out-of-touch with reality by most people who deal with hard facts every day. But art still has a great influence on how people feel about themselves and how they want to be perceived by others. In this sense, the art market is similar to the fashion industry which produces clothes that are bought not only for their functionality but also for their meaning and how they make you feel about yourself when you wear them.
So if you want to invest in something for its beauty and its status symbol appeal, why not invest in something
Art21 is a documentary series that’s been around for a while and is produced by PBS. It features art from around the world, new and old, and interviews with artists of all kinds.
Art21 has been featured in the New York Times, Time Magazine, and many other major publications.
Art21 brings together in dialogue artists of widely varying backgrounds to talk about their work and how they think about it.
Art21 continues to be one of the most talked about and critically acclaimed cultural series on public television.
So… how do you get tickets to Art21?