The most famous paintings are often said to be priceless. However, most of them still have their price. After all, wealthy people are always ready to fork out, in order to get a new masterpiece of fine art in their collection. As a result, the price is determined not only by the artistic features of the picture, but also by the personal tastes of the buyer. We will tell below about the 11 most expensive paintings sold ever in the history of mankind.
Paul J. Pollock, “No. 5, 1948”.
This picture is not widely known to the general public, and in fact it is the most expensive work of pictorial art. The author of it was the American artist-abstractionist Paul Jackson Pollock in 1948. At this time the first exhibition of the artist, which brought him fame, was held. The painting “No. 5, 1948” is made in a unique “pouring” technique, invented by the artist himself. It is also called splashing or dripping. Pollock laid the canvas on the floor, sprinkling paint on top. As a result, the brush did not touch the canvas at all. It should be noted that Pollock always liked the big pictures, his “No. 5, 1948” was not an exception. In height, it reaches 2.44 meters, and in width – 1.22. In 2006, the picture became the most expensive in the world. At Sotheby’s auction, it was sold for $ 140 million. In the ranking of the most expensive paintings, the creation of Pollock was the first post-war.
Willem de Kooning, “Woman III”.
Abstractionist Willem de Kooning became famous for a series of paintings dedicated to women and executed in a semi-realistic style. The picture “Woman III” was created in 1953, today it is the only creation from the series that is in private hands. In the 70s the painting was in the possession of the Tehran Museum of Modern Art. But the Islamic revolution changed views on fine art. Only in 1994 the painting could be sold in private hands and taken out of Iran. The new owner, David Geffen in 2006, resold the picture. Now the owner is American billionaire Stephen Cohen. For the masterpiece he had to lay out 137.5 million. Gustav Klimt, “Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I”.
Other names of the painting are “Golden Adele” or “Austrian Mona Lisa”. The author of it was one of the founders of Austrian Art Nouveau – Gustav Klimt. The painting was painted in the “golden” period of his work – in 1907. The artist then combined oil painting with the technique of relief and gilding. The painting is a portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer. Her father was a Viennese banker Moritz Bauer, and her husband – the manufacturer Ferdinand Bloch. The painting was owned by the state for a long time, but in 2005 the heirs of the Blokh family could seize it. In June 2006, the portrait was put up for sale. At the auction Sotheby’s bought for 135 million co-owner of cosmetic company Ronald Lauder for his gallery of New Art in New York. Pablo Picasso, “Naked, green leaves and bust”.
This picture broke into the rating relatively recently. In 1932, Picasso created a series of surrealistic paintings, where he unconventional depicted his new beloved, Marie-Thérèse Walter. The artist depicted her in the guise of the mythical Diana. Curiously, but a series of paintings of a sleeping mistress, Picasso created in secret from his wife, being with his girlfriend near Paris. Walter appears as a goddess of sex and desire. The most famous canvas of the entire series, “Dream” was almost sold for a record 139 million, but the owner did not break it in time. In the picture “Nude, green leaves and bust” depicts the sleeping Marie-Therese next to his own bust, the work of Picasso. First the creation passed into the hands of the American Rosenberg in 1936, then in 1951 the owner was the developer Sidney Brody. After his death, the painting was auctioned and in March 2010 Christie was able to sell it for 106 million to an unknown art lover. This is the most expensive work of art from among those sold at auction. Pablo Picasso, “The Boy with the Tube.”
The author of the painting was the famous Spanish artist and sculptor Pablo Picasso, the founder of cubism. The canvas was created in 1905, when the creator experienced his pink period. At that time, the “blue” period of creativity was left behind. Picasso draws circus artists, warm pink tones appear in the works. The painting was painted in a hostel in Montmartre, the creator-genius was then only 24 years old. The canvas perpetuated an unknown boy, with a pipe in his left hand and a crown of roses on his head. The portrait was for a long time the pearl of the collection of the American Whitney. When that sold out in 2004, an unknown buyer laid out for it 104 million dollars. Pablo Picasso, “Portrait of Dora Maar with a cat”.
Dora Maar was a talented artist and photographer. For 9 years, her love affair with Pablo Picasso continued. And although she never posed for the artist, there were many sketches and her portraits. It was her Pablo painted in the form of a woman with a lamp in her famous painting “Guernica” in 1937. Dora can be seen in the “Weeping Woman” of the same year. The artist himself explains his lover’s broken face like this: “For years I wrote her broken face not from sadism and not for pleasure, I saw it so, and it was stronger than me.” In 2006, at the auction Sotheby’s portrait of Dora Maar with the cat was put up for auction with a starting price of 50 million dollars. The final price of 95 million was paid by a certain Russian businessman, presumably Rustam Tariko. Gustav Klimt, “Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer II”.
Funny case – in the top ten most expensive paintings, two portraits of the same person, the brush of the same master. The fate of this portrait is similar to the fate of the first. In 2005, he was removed from the Austrian gallery Belvedere, where he got back in 1941, thanks to the Nazis. The new owner of the canvas was Maria Altman, the heiress of the Bloch-Bauer family. In her hands were three more paintings of Klimt: “Birch Grove”, “Houses in Unterah near Attersee” and “Apple Tree I”. At first, a calculating woman suggested that the Austrian government buy out these paintings, which for more than 60 years were the property of the country, for an amount of $ 150 million. The country even started collecting the required amount – the banks were ready to provide loans, come donations from the population. However, soon Altman decided to help out for paintings already twice as much. Then the government refused to participate in negotiations with the greedy heiress. She had no choice but to sell masterpieces at the auction. “Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer II” was eventually sold in 2006 for 88 million.
Francis Bacon, “Triptych, 1976”.
The author of the work was a British expressionist with scandalous fame Francis Bacon. The creation of the descendant and the full namesake of the great philosopher became the most expensive painting sold in 2008. At the time of this triptych, Bacon was already famous, and his paintings were shown in major museums. But the artist himself preferred to lead a marginal way of life. He still occupied a tight two-room apartment in the London area of Chelsea. Today, experts believe that “Triptych, 1976” is one of the greatest creations of Bacon, located in private collections. This is evidenced by the price for the canvas – in May 2008, Sotheby’s paid for the painting 86 million. Vincent van Gogh, “Portrait of Dr. Gachet”.
For 14 years, from 1990 to 2004, this creation of the Dutch post-impressionist Vincent Van Gogh was the most expensive sold artwork. A portrait written shortly before the death of the artist depicts Dr. Gachet. It was he who was treating Van Gogh in the last years of his life. In 1990, the owner of the picture was Japanese millionaire Reay Saito, who paid $ 82.5 million for the painting on Sotheby’s. When the collector died in 1996, for a long time it was unknown to find a picture. According to some rumors Saito even ordered to put her in his coffin.But eventually it turned out that the masterpiece did not disappear at all, but was all this time in the safe of one of the Japanese banks. The painting passed into the possession of the investment fund, then it was sold to an unknown private person. It is clear the owner’s desire to hide his name. After all, with the creation of Van Gogh, a story similar to Klimt’s paintings can occur. In 1937, the portrait was confiscated by the Nazis from the Frankfurt Stadele Art Institute, resold in a private collection, and later by Saito himself. Claude Monet, “Pond with water lilies”.
The author of the painting was the master of impressionism, the Frenchman Claude Monet. He wrote it in 1919, shortly before he had cataracts. In addition, there is an opinion that the special style in the work of this impressionist is due to the fact that the artist had by nature a weak vision. When this work Monet was sold for a record for his work amount, many critics were surprised. The fact is that by the time of writing “Pond with water-lilies” the artist’s paintings have become somewhat monotonous. Fashion for Impressionism was replaced by interest in Cubism. Nevertheless, in 2008, at an auction Christie’s unknown buyer paid for the canvas 80.5 million. Jasper Jones, “Falstart”.
The author of the picture in 1959 was the American Jasper Jones, working in a mixture of genres of neo-Dada, pop art and abstract expressionism. To date, this is the most expensive work of art among all living artists. The last owner of the picture is Kenneth Griffin, who paid $ 80 million for her in 2006.