Read More >>
It is often difficult to determine the worth of artwork when so many pieces are considered priceless. However, there does exist a hierarchy of value within the world of fine art. This list will explore the ten most valuable paintings in the world, as well as a brief history, its estimated value, and a brief overview of the artist.
A controversial piece, this painting by Leonardo Da Vinci has been dated c. 1500 after its rediscovery in 2011. The piece is a point of debate in the art world, as it is believed by some to not be original work, with Da Vinci only contributing some aspects to the piece. Leonardo is credited with less than 20 complete works of art, but the 2017 sale of the painting of Jesus clothed in renaissance garb, making the sign of the cross and holding a glass orb signifying the heavenly realm put Salvator Mundi at the top of our list, boasting a sale price of $450.3 million. The current estimated value of this piece is $460.3 million.
Value: $460.3 million
Created by the artist Willem de Kooning, an abstract expressionist painter born in Rotterdam and made an American citizen in 1926, Interchange is the first of his paintings of abstract landscapes. The work shows the influences of Kooning's relationship with artist Franz Kline. The artist began his work in abstract human form but later moved to landscapes and communities such as Interchange. The 1955 oil painting was sold in 2015 for 300 million dollars and is currently on loan to the Art Institute of Chicago. $317 million is the estimated value.
Value: $317 million
In the 1890s, artist Paul Cézanne went through a phase of painting scenes depicting businessmen playing intense games of cards. 5 in number, these paintings showcase various numbers of men intently focused on their games. Unlike other card-playing paintings of the time, Cézanne's paintings do not depict bawdy drinking and revelry. Known for his intense study of his subjects, and for his easily recognizable brushstrokes, Cézanne is believed to be the father of the move from impressionism to cubism. The Card players has an estimated value of 225 million dollars.
Value: $225 million
Sold for nearly 210 million dollars in 2015, the Nafea Faa Ipoipo, an oil painting by Paul Gauguin is a prime example of the artist's synthesist style and bold color choices. The impressionist finished the painting, featuring two women native to Tahiti. One woman is featured in native clothing, with a flower behind her ear signifying her search for a husband. The other woman is dressed in western attire. Tahiti was a source of great inspiration to the artist, and although his work was primarily met with indifference upon his return to France, the Nafea Faa Ipoipo is now one of the most expensive pieces of art in the world. Value on this painting has grown to $222 million.
Value: $222 million
Jackson Pollock is the American abstract expressionist artist who created the work entitled Number 17A. The painting was finished in 1948, from what is called the drip period. Pollock was best known for his paintings like Number 17A, in which he would drip paint on his canvas, often dancing while doing so. While many people claimed to dislike his random and eccentric style of painting, the painting was sold for $200 million. The artist died young, at age 44 after a vehicular accident involving alcohol. Approximate value on Number 17A is now $211 million.
Value: $211 million
Painted between 1904 and 1907, the Wasserschlangen II(or water Serpents II) depicts two underwater women, Gustav Klimt's attempts at symbolically representing a transcendental universe in such a way that he could paint women in erotic forms while attempting to avoid censorship. The painting is the second version of the image; the first was done on parchment. The Austrian painter spent most of his time painting erotic women. Often criticized for the pornographic nature of his work, he eventually quit accepting public commissions entirely. In 2013, the Wasserschlangen II sold for $183.8 million, making it the 6th most expensive painting in the world. The estimated value on Klimt's work has grown to $197.7 million.
Value: $197.7 million
Mark Rothko is the abstract expressionist that created No. 6. The painting is vibrant expanses of color in uneven rectangular shapes. The vibrant reds, greens, and blues appear hazy and imperfect. The Russian-American artist never stuck to one particular style of painting, making his classification abstract expressionist. The artwork has a fascinating past, being part of the Bouvier Affair, a complicated lawsuit in which the cost of many famous paintings was misrepresented and overcharged. In 1951 the painting was auctioned and fetched a staggering 186 million dollars, with estimated value being $197 million.
Value: $197 million
Originally painted for the couple's wedding, these portraits were done by the Dutch painter Rembrandt. Considered one of the best artists of all times, Rembrandt's subjects were greatly varied and antitypical of his time. The paintings are rare examples of Rembrandt's famous works, due to the fact that they are life sized. The newlywed couple are depicted in clothes depicting their social status as a wealthy couple in Amsterdam. While the set has not always been displayed simultaneously, the 2016 sale of the set has kept them together since. They take turns between the Louvre and the Rijksmuseum. The two museums bought the paintings for $190 million in 2015 and are unable to be borrowed by other museums. Their current value has stayed true to 2015's purchase price.
Value: $190 million
This 1955 oil on canvas is one of a series of 15 paintings created by the easily recognizeable Pablo Piccasso. The Spanish artist spent much of his life in France, and was known for his creative work with a variety of mediums. Most notably, he is known for his role in the birth of the art style Cubeism. Victor and Sally Ganz bought the entire set of paintings in 1956, for a total of $212,500. The set has been divided since, and its current adjusted worth is considered to be $189.6 million.
Value: $189.6 million
$170.4 million bought this painting in November of 2015. Tenth on our list, this portrait of a nude woman is an oil on canvas created by an Italian artist by the name of Amedeo Modigliani. Still his most widely reproduced piece of art, and most expensive sale. The portrait was purchased by a chinese man, and it is rumored that he bought the painting and paid for it using his American Express Card. The painting was only displayed in an art show on one occasion, before the show was shut down by police for the nature of Modigliani's art. $180.1 million is the current estimated value on this piece.
Value: $180.1 million
Value of art is subjective, as can be illustrated by the varied styles of the paintings on this list. Each is different, in subject, style, and size. Each one is a precious piece of talented human history, and the value is truly immeasurable.
This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author. This content has not been paid for by any advertiser nor does Answer.Expert recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. This article is provided for informational purposes only. Answer.Expert does not provide professional advice of any kind. You should seek guidance from your medical, financial, legal, or other professional representative with any questions you many have about your personal situation.