5 Most Expensive Paintings Ever Sold

Art is special. It allows us to express ourselves and our feelings, a way we can let our creativity flow. It helps us to understand the culture of others and perfectly captures our morals and values. And with how important art is to our society, it’s bound to be valuable, right? 

We’ve all seen the most famous paintings in the world; The Starry Night by Vincent Van Gough, Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci - but do you have any idea just how much they're worth? Well, in this article, we’re going to be counting down the 5 most expensive paintings ever sold. 


5). Number 17A - Jackson Pollock 

Jackson Pollock was an artist who created abstract expressionist art. His painting “Number 17A” is a drip painting, which Pollock was known for, and was created in 1948. This particular painting has many layers of smudges, brushstrokes and drips of paint - this technique was extremely looked down upon at the time and his work was often put at a low value. However, this particular painting was featured in an issue of Life Magazine and, so, he soon became a household name. 

In 2015, “Number 17A” was bought by billionaire Kenneth C. Griffin for a whopping $200 million, breaking records at the time. That’s approximately $250 million today!


4). Nafea Faa Ipoipo - Paul Gauguin 

Paul Gauguin was a French Post-Impressionist artist who created the oil painting “Nafea Faa Ipoipo” (which translates to “When Will You Marry Me?”) in 1892. The painting was purchased by a Qatari buyer for $210 million. That’s roughly around $263 million in 2022!

Fun fact about the painting, or more specifically the purchase of said painting, is that for a short period of time, it held the record for the most expensive painting ever sold before being taken to court and having revealed it actually cost $210 million as opposed to the $300 million originally stated! 



3). The Card Players - Paul Cezanne 

“The Card Players” is an oil painting created somewhere between 1894 and 1895 by Post-Impressionist artist, Paul Cezanne. There are four other paintings with the same name created by Cezanne dating back to 1890-1895. The painting depicts two men smoking pipes and playing cards; it is said to have the intention of showing the daily lives of paupers living in Provençe, France. 

This painting was purchased by the Royal Family of Qatar in 2011 for a huge $250 million, that’s approximately $301.1 million today!



2). Interchange - Willem de Kooning 

Another abstract expressionist painting, "Interchange" is an oil painting created by artist Willem de Kooning in 1955. Like Pollock, Kooning was a part of the first modern art movement! The name “Interchange” comes from the area in which he lived at the time. It depicts a woman sitting in a chair but, due to its abstract nature, she instead appears as a sort of mass. 

This painting was purchased by billionaire Kenneth C. Griffin once again for a total of $300 million back in September 2015. He clearly has a type! In case you wondered that’d cost him today, it equates to roughly $375 million! 



1). Salvator Mundi - Leonardo da Vinci 

“Salvator Mundi” is not only the world’s most expensive painting ever sold but also has an extremely interesting backstory behind it. Estimated to be painted somewhere between 1490 and 1500, the painting depicts Jesus Christ with a haunting expression whilst holding a crystal ball and crossing his fingers. 

The painting seemingly frequently disappeared throughout history, coming in and out of possession of the royal family. Fakes would quite often appear but only to be sold for very little as they were soon proven to be unauthentic. After 50 years of being what was described as lost, the painting appeared in an American estate sale where it posed as a fake - little did they know, they had the real thing and it actually ended up being bought for just $10,000! 

It soon made its way to professionals in 2007, who were soon able to authenticate the painting and fast forward 10 years, the painting ended up being auctioned off for an incredible $450.3 million by Saudi Arabian Prince Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud. You might want to take a breath before reading this next part… that’s worth around $544 million today - more than half a billion dollars! 



And with that, we come to an end - were you surprised by the number one spot? Or did you know how much these famous paintings went for? We hope you enjoyed our countdown of the 5 most expensive paintings ever sold. Stay tuned for more art centered blogs coming soon! 

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