In good times and bad, one thing people always appreciate is art. This is one of the things that is certain in this world.
Thousands of people collect art. Some artworks may command bigger price tags than others because as they say, you pay for good art and good art is expensive. Some people can spend thousands and millions of dollars all for the sake of art. So what are the most expensive pieces of artwork ever sold? Here is a list of the top 10 to break it down.
10. Pablo Picasso’s Dora Maar au chat: $95.2 Million
Pablo Picasso created a lot of masterpieces and one of them is Dora Maar au chat, which created quite a buzz because it was a portrait of his mistress Dora Maar. It was controversial for so many reasons. First it was said to be an unflattering depiction of his mistress for 10 years who was also an artist and photographer. Painted in 1941, it still created the same sort of controversy when in 2006 it was auctioned in Sotheby’s and was acquired by Georgian billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili for $95.2 million, almost double the pre-sale estimate of the controversial portrait, which was coincidentally one of the last portraits Picasso ever did.
9. Andy Warhol’s Eight Elvis: $100 Million
In 2008, American pop artist Andy Warhol joined the league of the likes of Picasso, Pollock and Klimt, when it was able to command $100 million price tag during a private deal by art consultant Philippe Segalot and Roman collector Annibale Berlingieri to the unknown new owner. Warhol’s Eight Elvis is one unique piece after all and measures 12 feet. It depicts American icon Elvis Presley in a repetition of imagery, done in silver which was Warhol’s favorite color and done in 1963, which was known to be a vintage Warhol year.
8. Pablo Picasso’s Garçon à la pipe: $104 Million
Cuban artist Pablo Picasso went through a certain period in his life that is referred now as Rose Period, because he painted using the bright and cheerful colors of orange and pink palette during this period which was not usually his style. Even if the Garçon à la Pipe also known as The Apprentice which was a painting of a Parisian boy holding a pipe in his left hand was not done in the usual Picasso style, it was auctioned at a record price in 2004 at Sotheby’s New York. The new owner of the painting is said to be Guido Barilla of the Barilla Group.
7. Alberto Giacometti’s sculpture Walking Man I: $104 Million
Walking straight into the world records for being one of the most expensive pieces of art ever sold is Alberto Giacometti sculpture, L’Homme qui marche I or also known as Walking Man 1. Rumored to have bought it for $104 million during the 2001 Sotheby’s auction is London-based billionaire Lily Safra.
6. Pablo Picasso’s Nude, Green Leaves, and Bust: $106.5 Million
A painting that took Pablo Picasso one day to create in 1932 was auctioned to a record price of $106.5 million in 2010. The painting depicts Picasso’s lover, Marie Therese Walters. It was previously owned by a California-based philanthropist before it was auctioned at Christie’s and sold to an anonymous buyer. Now, it is said to be a part of Frances Lasker Brody estate.
5. Edvard Munch’s The Scream: $119.9 Million
Edvard Munch created one of the world’s iconic masterpieces with The Scream, which has four versions. Three of which are in museums while the only privately owned one was auctioned in 2012 for $119.9 million to an anonymous bidder. Created in 1895, it came to the family of Norwegian businessman Petter Olsen in the 1930’s before he decided to put it on the market. What makes this version very unique and very sought after hence the hefty price tag it was able to command is the poem hand written by the artist at the back of the painting.
4. Gustav Klimt’s Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer: $135 Million
In 1907, Austrian painter extraordinaire Gustav Klimt made a portrait in dazzling gold of Adele Bloch-Bauer, which is now considered to be one of the artist’s celebrated masterpieces. In 2006, it sold for $135 million and became the possession of Ronal Lauder of the Estee Lauder Cosmetics fame. He purchased it for the museum he founded in New York, Neue Galerie, whose art works are from Germany and Austria. According to Lauder, the Gustav Klimt’s painting is the Mona Lisa for his museum.
3. Willem de Kooning’s Woman III: $137.5 Million
Hedge fund billionaire Steven A. Cohen who has a personal art collection that may be considered one of world’s greatest and most expensive added a new gem when it scooped a Willem de Kooning painting from entertainment producer and avid art collector David Geffen for $137.5 million. De Kooning is known for his Women series which is six in total, five of which are in world-class museums and only the Woman III is privately owned. It is considered to be the most important post-war painting that is privately owned and not in a museum.
2. Jackson Pollock’s No. 5, 1948: $140 Million
In 2006, a Mexican financier David Martinez dropped $140 million for a painting. It was not any ordinary painting as it was made by American painter Jackson Pollock, known for his drip paintings, that Time Magazine called him Jack the Dripper. The art work called No. 5, 1948 was made in 1948 and was one of his first drip paintings. It measured 4 feet by 8 feet and made of tangled composition of brown and yellow colors. Its previous owner is entertainment producer and mega collector David Geffen.
1. Paul Cézanne’s The Card Players: $250 Million
As part of its efforts to become an international intellectual hub, Qatar, an oil-rich country in the Middle East purchased Paul Cézanne’s The Card Players for $250 million. What makes this painting worth millions of dollars is its exclusivity. There are five The Card Players paintings that exist, four of which are in world-class museums like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Musée d’Orsay, the Courtauld, and the Barnes Foundation. Now, Qatar owns the only privately held one which was previously owned by Greek shipping magnate George Embiricos.
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