The most expensive painting ever sold at auction is a painting of a white square on a white canvas. It was bought in May 2010 by an anonymous collector, who paid $1,140,000,000 for it. The identity of the artist is known – it’s a piece by Kazimir Malevich. The record-breaking nature of the sale is baffling to most art critics, but not to all.
The painting was made in 1915, and was called Suprematist Composition: White on White. It was one of the first abstract paintings ever created. In fact, it may be the first abstract painting ever; some say that it exists in the space between Cubism and abstract painting.
Amongst art historians there is some debate about whether this means that Malevich invented abstraction or merely perfected a style that was already present in the work of artists such as Wassily Kandinsky and Paul Klee.
However you look at it though, Malevich has been hailed as one of the most important artists of his day, and certainly one of the most influential. During his career he won many prizes and accolades; he also had many imitators trying to follow in his footsteps.
His career started slowly though; while he spent most of his
The world’s most expensive paintings ever sold at auction, as of the date of this list:
1. Nafea Faa Ipoipo (When Will You Marry?) by Paul Gauguin (1892) $300,000 (unsold)
2. Portrait of Dr. Gachet by Vincent Van Gogh (1890) $82,500,000
3. No. 6 (Violet, Green and Red) by Mark Rothko (1957) $72,844,000
4. The Card Players by Paul Cezanne (1892-3) $250,800,000
5. Dora Maar au Chat by Picasso (1941) $95,405,000
6. Nu couché by Amedeo Modigliani (1917-18) $93,750,000
7. The Scream by Edvard Munch (1895) $119,922,500
8. Nude on a Black Couch by Amedeo Modigliani (1917-18) $106,200,000
9. L’Origine du monde by Gustave Courbet (1866) $65 million
Art has been around for centuries and continues to be produced. It is one of the most important forms of expression, whether in the form of painting, sculptures or even photographs. Whether they are made by amateurs or professionals, paintings always remain unique pieces of art that reflect the artist’s creativity and skills.
According to recent estimates made by Artprice.com, there are more than 100 million pieces of art on display in museums and private collections all over the world. However, a small portion of those are actually available for sale. Unfortunately, it is not possible to know exactly how many paintings exist, because there is no official count of them yet.
The costliest paintings ever sold at auction are mostly portraits and landscapes but also include still life paintings and abstracts. In this article, we will present you with the most expensive paintings ever sold at auction.
The following is a list of the most expensive paintings ever sold at auction. The amount of time elapsed since the most recent sale is given in parentheses. Figures are in US Dollars.
1) Pablo Picasso, Nude, Green Leaves and Bust (1932) – $106.5 million (May 3, 2010)
2) Munch, The Scream (1895) – $119.9 million (May 2, 2012)
3) Van Gogh, Portrait of Dr. Gachet (1890) – $82.5 million (May 17, 1990)
4) Leonardo da Vinci, Salvator Mundi (c. 1500-1510) – $75 million (November 15th, 2017)*
5) Edvard Munch, The Scream (1895) – $74.9 million (May 2, 2012)*
6) Francis Bacon, Triptych – 1976 – $73.8 million (November 13th, 2008)*
7) Amedeo Modigliani, Nu Couché (1917-18) – $72.2 million (May 10th 2007)*
8 ) Gustav Klimt, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I (19
The most expensive paintings ever sold at auction. This is a list of the most expensive paintings sold at auction in history. The year given is the year of sale.
The artists are listed in order of their number of appearances in this list (i.e., sales).
This list does not include any work that was withdrawn from auction, regardless of the stated hammer price.
Note: * Indicates still living artist
Note: ** Indicates artist with paintings in the world’s top twenty-five artworks according to Art Market Trends 2012 and/or Art Market Trends 2013 and 2014
The story of art is the story of patrons. When paintings were mostly commissioned by rich people, you can tell their story through the art they supported. But who would be the patrons of painting today?
The answer, apparently, is billionaires. The most expensive paintings ever sold at auction are both by Paul Cezanne. Why Cezanne? According to Phillips’ head of impressionist and modern art Francis Outred, it’s because his works are “big, splashy and sexy.” Outred says “They’re not like a Renoir or a Monet that you can have in your living room.” Cezanne’s paintings are so big they’re best enjoyed from afar, like an abstract sculpture or a skyscraper.
But what if you want to enjoy them from really far away? Now we’ve got a new problem. What if you want to enjoy them from space?
I didn’t know it at the time, but I was being primed. The LACMA’s paltry collection of contemporary art was a harbinger of what awaited me in art galleries around the country.
My favorite museum, the Metropolitan, had a room filled with seemingly every painting the museum had acquired in the last 10 years. It was, in effect, a graveyard for contemporary art: black holes that sucked in creative expression and spat out nothingness.
I’ve since stopped going to art museums entirely (though I still visit art galleries). The contemporary art world is a sham: no one is buying these paintings, and few artists seem to care about their quality. A few hundred years from now, when people look back on these decades as an age of artistic barrenness, they will wonder why anyone bothered spending so much money on them. And for good reason.