List of most expensive paintings
The most famous paintings, especially old master works done before 1803, are generally owned or held at museums, for viewing by patrons. Since the museums rarely sell them they are considered priceless. Guinness World Records lists Leonardo Da Vinci's Mona Lisa as having the highest ever insurance value for a painting. On permanent display at the Louvre in Paris, the Mona Lisa was assessed at US$100 million on December 14, 1962. Taking inflation into account, the 1962 value would be around US$830 million in 2018.
The earliest sale on the list below (Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers by Vincent van Gogh) is from March 1987; with a price of £24.75 million (£68.4 million in 2018 currency). This sale tripled the previous record, and introduced a new era in top art sales. Before this, the highest absolute price paid for a painting was £8.1 million (£18.9 million in 2018 currency) paid by the J. Paul Getty Museum for Andrea Mantegna's Adoration of the Magi at Christie's in London on April 18, 1985. In constant dollars, the highest price paid before 1987 was by the National Gallery of Art when in February 1967 they acquired Leonardo da Vinci's Ginevra de' Benci for around $5 million ($38 million in 2018 dollars) from the Princely Family of Liechtenstein. The sale of Van Gogh's Sunflowers was the first time a "modern" (in this case 1888) painting became the record holder, as opposed to the old master paintings which previously had dominated the market. In contrast, there are currently only nine pre-1875 paintings among the listed top 89, and none created between 1635 and 1874.
An exceptional case is graffiti artist David Choe, who accepted payment in shares for painting graffiti art in the headquarters of a fledgling Facebook. His shares were of limited value when he was given them, but by the time of Facebook's IPO they were valued at around $200m.
The list is incomplete with respect to sales between private parties, as these are not always reported and, even if they are, details like the purchase price may remain secret. For example, on 25 June 2019, the American hedge fund manager J. Tomilson Hill bought a recently rediscovered Judith and Holofernes (1607) attributed to Caravaggio, two days before it would have been auctioned in Toulouse. Though the Louvre Museum had turned down the opportunity to purchase it for €100 million, the painting was estimated to sell for $110 to $170 million. The actual purchase price was not disclosed, because of a confidentiality agreement attached to the private sale.
Van Gogh, Picasso, and WarholEdit
Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, and Andy Warhol are by far the best-represented artists in the list. Whereas Picasso and Warhol became wealthy men, Van Gogh is known to have sold only one painting in his lifetime, The Red Vineyard, for 400 francs (approximately $2,000 in 2018 dollars) to the impressionist painter and heiress Anna Boch. Prices realised for just his nine paintings listed below, when adjusted for inflation to 2017, add up to over US$900 million.
Most expensive painting by a female artistEdit
Georgia O'Keeffe holds the record for the highest price paid for a painting by a woman. On 20 November 2014 at Sotheby's, the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art bought her 1932 painting Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1 for US$44.4 million (equivalent to US$47 million in 2018).
Most expensive non-Western paintingsEdit
Among the listed top 89, only 3 are paintings by non-Western artists. They are traditional Chinese paintings by Qi Baishi and Wang Meng. In particular, Qi Baishi's Twelve Landscape Screens was sold for $140.8m in 2017. Though just missing the list, notably, the Chinese-French painter Zao Wouki's oil painting Juin-Octobre 1985 was sold for $65m in 2018.
List of highest prices paidEdit
This list is ordered by consumer price index inflation-adjusted value (in bold) in millions of United States dollars in 2018.[note 1] Where necessary, the price is first converted to dollars using the exchange rate at the time the painting was sold. The inflation adjustment may change as recent inflation rates are often revised. A list in another currency may be in a slightly different order due to exchange-rate fluctuations. Paintings are listed only once, i.e. for the highest price sold.
|Painting||Image||Artist||Year||Date of sale||Rank
|$460.3||$450.3||Salvator Mundi||Leonardo da Vinci||c. 1500||November 15, 2017||1||Dmitry Rybolovlev||Badr bin Abdullah Al Saud[note 2]||Christie's, New York|
|~$317||~$300||Interchange||Willem de Kooning||1955||September 2015||1||David Geffen Foundation||Kenneth C. Griffin||Private sale|
|$278 +||$250 + [note 3]||The Card Players||Paul Cézanne||1892/93||April 2011||1||George Embiricos||State of Qatar||Private sale|
|$222||$210 ||Nafea Faa Ipoipo
(When Will You Marry?)
|Paul Gauguin||1892||September 2014||2||Rudolf Staechelin heirs||State of Qatar||Private sale|
|~$211||~$200||Number 17A||Jackson Pollock||1948||September 2015||4||David Geffen Foundation||Kenneth C. Griffin||Private sale|
|$197.7||$183.8||Wasserschlangen II||Gustav Klimt||1904-07||2013||2||Yves Bouvier||Dmitry Rybolovlev||Private sale [note 4]|
|No. 6 (Violet, Green and Red)||Mark Rothko||1951||August 2014||3||Cherise Moueix||Dmitry Rybolovlev||Private sale via|
|Pendant portraits of
and Oopjen Coppit
|Rembrandt||1634||September 2015||7||Éric de Rothschild||Rijksmuseum
|$189.6||$179.4||Les Femmes d'Alger
|Pablo Picasso||1955||May 11, 2015||5||Private collection||Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani||Christie's, New York|
|$180.1||$170.4||Nu couché||Amedeo Modigliani||1917/18||November 9, 2015||9||Laura Mattioli Rossi||Liu Yiqian||Christie's, New York|
|$174||$140||No. 5, 1948||Jackson Pollock||1948||November 2, 2006||1||David Geffen||David Martinez||Private sale via Sotheby's|
|$170.9||$137.5||Woman III||Willem de Kooning||1953||November 18, 2006||2||David Geffen||Steven A. Cohen||Private sale via Larry Gagosian|
|$168.7||$165.0||Masterpiece||Roy Lichtenstein||1962||January 2017||12||Agnes Gund||Steven A. Cohen||Private sale|
|$167.8||$135||Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I||Gustav Klimt||1907||June 18, 2006||1||Maria Altmann||Ronald Lauder, Neue Galerie||Private sale via Christie's|
|$166.7||$155||Le Rêve||Pablo Picasso||1932||March 26, 2013||6||Steve Wynn||Steven A. Cohen||Private sale|
|$158.2||$82.5||Portrait of Dr. Gachet||Vincent van Gogh||1890||May 15, 1990||1||Siegfried Kramarsky heirs||Ryoei Saito[note 5]||Christie's, New York|
|$157.2||$157.2||Nu couché (sur le côté gauche)||Amedeo Modigliani||1917||May 15, 2018||Ezra and David Nahmad||Sotheby's, New York|
|$156.6||$150||Adele Bloch-Bauer II||Gustav Klimt||1912||2016||10||Oprah Winfrey [note 6]||Unidentified buyer in China||Private sale via Larry Gagosian|
|$153.2||$142.4||Three Studies of Lucian Freud||Francis Bacon||1969||November 12, 2013||8||[note 7]||Elaine Wynn, ex-wife of Steve Wynn||Christie's, New York|
|$149.8||$78.1||Bal du moulin de la Galette
|Pierre-Auguste Renoir||1876||May 17, 1990||2||Betsey Whitney||Ryoei Saito [note 9]||Sotheby's, New York|
|Twelve Landscape Screens||Qi Baishi||1925||December 17, 2017||Beijing Poly Auction|
|$138.2||$104.2||Garçon à la pipe||Pablo Picasso||1905||May 5, 2004||3||Greentree Foundation
|Guido Barilla (suspected)||Sotheby's, New York|
|$130.9||$119.9||The Scream [note 10]||Edvard Munch||1895||May 2, 2012||8||Petter Olsen||Leon Black||Sotheby's, New York|
|$129.1||$120||Otahi||Paul Gauguin||1893||2013||10||Yves Bouvier||Dmitry Rybolovlev||Private sale [note 11]|
|$129||$118||Reclining Nude With Blue Cushion||Amedeo Modigliani||1917||2012||8||Steven A. Cohen||Dmitry Rybolovlev||Private sale via Yves Bouvier|
|$126.4||$110.0||Flag [note 12]||Jasper Johns||1958||March 2010||7||Jean-Christophe Castelli||Steven A. Cohen||Private sale, estimated price|
|$122.3||$106.5||Nude, Green Leaves and Bust||Pablo Picasso||1932||May 4, 2010||9||Frances Lasker Brody estate||Leonard Blavatnik (suspected)||Christie's, New York|
works [note 13]
|Portrait of Joseph Roulin||Vincent van Gogh||1889||August 1, 1989||1||Private collection, Zürich||Museum of Modern Art New York||Private sale via|
Fine Art Zurich
|$118.9||$53.9||Irises||Vincent van Gogh||1889||November 11, 1987||1||John Whitney Payson, son of Joan Whitney Payson||Alan Bond [note 14]||Sotheby's, New York|
|$118.3||$95.2||Dora Maar au Chat||Pablo Picasso||1941||May 3, 2006||6||Gidwitz family||Boris Ivanishvili||Sotheby's, New York|
|$116.4||$100.0||Eight Elvises||Andy Warhol||1963||October 2008||10||Annibale Berlingieri||The State of Qatar (suspected)||Private sale via Philippe Ségalot|
|$115||$115||Young Girl with a Flower Basket||Pablo Picasso||1905||May 8, 2018||David and Peggy Rockefeller||Unidentified buyer||Christie's, New York|
|$113.7 +||$105.7 + [note 15]
|Anna's Light||Barnett Newman||1968||October 4, 2013||DIC Corp.||Private sale|
|$113.4||$105.4||Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster)||Andy Warhol||1963||November 13, 2013||Sotheby's, New York|
|$112.9||$110.5||Untitled||Jean-Michel Basquiat||1982||May 18, 2017||Basquiat family||Yusaku Maezawa ||Sotheby’s, New York|
|$110.7||$110.7||Meules||Claude Monet||1890||May 14, 2019||Sotheby’s, New York |
|$109.9||$71.5||Portrait de l'artiste sans barbe||Vincent van Gogh||1889||November 19, 1998||5||Jacques Koerfer heirs||Christie's, New York|
|$108||$100||La Montagne Sainte-Victoire
vue du bosquet du Château Noir
|Paul Cézanne||1904||2013 [note 16]||Edsel and Eleanor Ford House||State of Qatar ||Private sale|
|Massacre of the Innocents||Peter Paul Rubens||1611||July 10, 2002||6||an Austrian family||Kenneth Thomson[note 17]||Sotheby's, London|
|$100.8||$95.4||Nurse||Roy Lichtenstein||1964||November 9, 2015||Christie's, New York|
|$100.4||$86.3||Triptych, 1976||Francis Bacon||1976||May 14, 2008||Jean-Pierre Moueix heirs||Roman Abramovich||Sotheby's, New York|
|Les Noces de Pierrette||Pablo Picasso||1905||November 30, 1989||3||Fredrik Roos||Tomonori Tsurumaki||Binoche et Godeau Paris|
|$99.4||$80.0||False Start||Jasper Johns||1959||October 12, 2006||11||David Geffen||Kenneth C. Griffin||Private sale via Richard Gray|
|$98.9||$57||A Wheatfield with Cypresses||Vincent van Gogh||1889||May 1993||6||Emil Georg Bührle's son||Walter H. Annenberg [note 18]||Private sale via Steven Mazoh|
|Te Fare (La maison)||Paul Gauguin||1892||June 2008||Yves Bouvier||Dmitry Rybolovlev||Private sale [note 19]|
|$96.7||$47.8||Yo, Picasso||Pablo Picasso||1901||May 9, 1989||2||Wendell Cherry||Stavros Niarchos||Sotheby's, New York|
|$96.7||$80.0||Turquoise Marilyn||Andy Warhol||1964||May 20, 2007||Stefan Edlis||Steven A. Cohen||Private sale via Larry Gagosian|
|$95.3||$70.0||Portrait of Alfonso d'Avalos with a Page||Titian||1533||November 2003||10||AXA insurance company||Getty Museum||Private sale via|
|$94.8||$86.9||Orange, Red, Yellow||Mark Rothko||1961||May 8, 2012||David Pincus estate||Christie's, New York|
|Le Bassin aux Nymphéas||Claude Monet||1919||June 24, 2008||J. Irwin and Xenia S. Miller||Christie's, London|
|$91.9||$91.9||Chop Suey||Edward Hopper||1929||November 13, 2018||Barney A. Ebsworth estate||Christie's, New York|
|$91||$60.5||Rideau, Cruchon et Compotier||Paul Cézanne||1894||May 10, 1999||9||Whitney Family [note 20]||Sotheby's, New York|
|$90.3||$90.3||Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)||David Hockney||1972||November 15, 2018||Christie’s , New York |
|$89.1||$84.2||Black Fire I||Barnett Newman||1961||May 13, 2014||Private Collection||Anonymous||Christie's, New York|
|$88||$72.8||White Center (Yellow, Pink
and Lavender on Rose)
|Mark Rothko||1950||May 15, 2007||David Rockefeller, Sr.||Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani ||Sotheby's, New York|
|Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers||Vincent van Gogh||1888||March 30, 1987||1||Helen Beatty,
|Yasuo Goto, Yasuda Comp.||Christie's, London|
|$86.7||$81.9||Triple Elvis||Andy Warhol||1963||November 12, 2014||WestSpiel ||Christie's, New York|
|$86.7||$71.7||Green Car Crash
(Green Burning Car I)
|Andy Warhol||1963||May 16, 2007||Private collection, Zürich||Philip Niarchos||Christie's, New York|
|$86.6||$81.9||No. 10||Mark Rothko||1958||May 13, 2015||Christie's, New York|
|$85.8||$85.8||Suprematist Composition||Kazimir Malevich||1916||May 15, 2018||The Nahmad family||Anonymous||Christie's, New York [note 21]|
|$85.5||$80.8||Three Studies for a
Portrait of John Edwards
|Francis Bacon||1984||May 13, 2014||Private Collection||Anonymous||Christie's, New York.|
|$85||$81.4||Meule||Claude Monet||1891||November 16, 2016||Christie's, New York|
|$84.7||$84.7||Nymphéas en fleur||Claude Monet||1914-1917||May 8, 2018||David and Peggy Rockefeller||Unidentified buyer||Christie's, New York|
(€50-60) [note 22]
|Darmstadt Madonna||Hans Holbein||1526||July 12, 2011||Donatus, Landgrave of Hesse||Reinhold Würth||Private sale via|
Christoph Graf Douglas
|$83.1||$81.3||Laboureur dans un champ||Vincent van Gogh||1889||November 13, 2017||Nancy Lee and Perry R. Bass estate||Christie's, New York|
|Diana and Actaeon||Titian||1556–1559||February 1, 2009||Duke of Sutherland||National Galleries of Scotland
& National Gallery, London
|$82.3||$40.7||Au Lapin Agile||Pablo Picasso||1904||November 27, 1989||5||Linda de Roulet, daughter of Joan Whitney Payson||Walter H. Annenberg||Sotheby's, New York|
|$82.2||$68||The Gross Clinic||Thomas Eakins||1875||April 12, 2007||Thomas Jefferson University||Philadelphia Museum of Art||Private sale|
|$82||$75.1||No 1 (Royal Red and Blue)||Mark Rothko||1954||November 13, 2012||John and Anne Marion||Sotheby's, New York|
|Acrobate et jeune arlequin
|Pablo Picasso||1905||November 28, 1988||3||Roger Janssen heirs?
|$80.8||$80.8||Odalisque couchée aux magnolias||Henri Matisse||1923||May 8, 2018||David and Peggy Rockefeller||Unidentified buyer||Christie's, New York|
|$80||$55.0||Femme aux Bras Croisés||Pablo Picasso||1902||November 8, 2000||Chauncey McCormick heirs||Christie's, New York|
|$79.2||$69.0||Nude Sitting on a Divan
("La Belle Romaine")
|Amedeo Modigliani||1917||November 2, 2010||Halit Cıngıllıoglu||Sotheby's, New York|
|$78.9||$63.5||Police Gazette||Willem de Kooning||1955||October 12, 2006||David Geffen||Steven A. Cohen||Private sale via Richard Gray.|
|Diana and Callisto||Titian||1556–1559||March 2, 2012||Duke of Sutherland||National Galleries of Scotland
& National Gallery, London
|Private sale |
|$74.6||$70.5||Untitled (New York City)||Cy Twombly||1968||November 11, 2015||Sydney M. Irmas heirs||Christie's, New York|
|$74.5||$49.5||Femme assise dans un jardin||Pablo Picasso||1938||November 10, 1999||Robert Saidenberg [note 25] ||Sotheby's, New York|
|Portrait of George Dyer Talking||Francis Bacon||1966||February 13, 2014||Christie's, London|
|$74.1||$47.5||Peasant Woman Against
a Background of Wheat
|Vincent van Gogh||1890||1997||11||Steve Wynn[note 26]||Private sale via|
Acquavella Galleries Inc.,
|$73.7||$69.6||Untitled||Cy Twombly||1970||November 12, 2014||Nicola del Roscio ||Christie's, New York|
|$73.7||$69.6||Four Marlons||Andy Warhol||1966||November 12, 2014||WestSpiel ||Christie's, New York|
|Eagle Standing on Pine Tree||Qi Baishi||1946||May 22, 2011||Liu Yiqian||Hunan TV & Broadcast
|China Guardian Auctions|
|$72.8||$63.4||Men in Her Life||Andy Warhol||1962||November 8, 2010||Jose Mugrabi||Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani ||Phillips de Pury & Company|
|$71.6||$70.1||Contraste de formes||Fernand Léger||1913||November 13, 2017||Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation||Christie's, New York|
|$71.3||$67.45||La Gommeuse||Pablo Picasso||1901||November 5, 2015||William I. Koch||Sotheby's, New York.|
|$71.1||$35.2||Portrait of a Halberdier||Pontormo||1537||May 31, 1989||5||Chauncey Stillman||Getty Museum||Christie's, New York|
|$71.2||$67.4||Buste de femme
(Femme à la résille)
|Pablo Picasso||1938||May 11, 2015||Steve Wynn||Joseph Lau||Christie's, New York|
|$70.1||$66.3||L’Allée des Alyscamps||Vincent van Gogh||1888||May 5, 2015||Sotheby's, New York|
|$70.1||$66.2||Untitled||Mark Rothko||1952||May 13, 2014||Private Collection||Anonymous||Christie's, New York|
|Zhichuan Resettlement||Wang Meng||1350||June 4, 2011||Beijing Poly Auction|
|$69.2||$66.3||Untitled XXV||Willem de Kooning||1977||November 15, 2016||Christie's, New York|
|$68.9||$65.1||Jeanne (Spring)||Édouard Manet||1881||November 5, 2014||Oliver Hazard Payne heirs||Getty Museum||Christie's, New York|
|$68.9||$68.9||Woman as Landscape||Willem de Kooning||1955||November 13, 2018||Barney A. Ebsworth estate||Christie's, New York|
|$68.7||$61.7||1949-A-No.1||Clyfford Still||1949||November 9, 2011||City and County of Denver||Sotheby's, New York|
- The Wikipedia template uses a yearly average inflation. Using monthly averages gives slightly different numbers, most significantly for paintings sold early or late in a year with significant inflation.
- Badr bin Abdullah allegedly bought Salvador Mundi on behalf of the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture & Tourism, but it has since been posited that he may have been a stand-in bidder for Saudi Arabian crown prince Mohammed bin Salman.
- Exact price (even the currency of sale) is not known, with estimates from $250 million to even $300 million
- Within weeks after a private viewing in Vienna in September 2012, Rybolovlev agreed to pay $183.8 million via his dealer Bouvier. At the same time, Bouvier was negotiating and eventually succeeded to buy the painting for $112 million from Ursula Ucicky, widow of Gustav Ucicky (the illegitimate son of Gustav Klimt and one of his models). Ucicky shared half with the heirs of the Jewish family from whom the painting had been seized in 1939. After The Bouvier Affair unfolded, Rybolovlev resold the painting for $170 million in November 2015.
- Some fear existed, that Portrait of Dr. Gachet had been cremated with the owner in 1996, but Gachet's portrait was privately resold to Wolfgang Flöttl in 1997 or 1998 for $65-$90 million through Sotheby’s. Before 2007, Flöttl had sold it for $100 million to an unknown buyer.
- Oprah Winfrey had bought the painting in November 2006 at Christie's for nearly $88 million. At that time this was the 4th highest (unadjusted) price at auction and 10th highest price on this list.
- The triptych had probably been reassembled by the Italian collector Francesco De Simone Niquesa, but were resold to a person in the US before 2013
- This is the small version of the painting; the large version is at the Musée d'Orsay.
- Privately resold for ca. $50 million through Sotheby’s in 1997.
- One of two pastel versions; another two painted versions (and lithography) exist, all created by Munch.
- Rybolovlev resold Gauguin's Otahi before 2017 for less than $50 million.
- This stands as the most expensive painting by a living artist.
- The paintings transferred to the dealers include a late Monet entitled Corona (Water Lilies) from around 1920; Renoir's Reclining Nude of 1902; Kandinsky's Autumn Landscape, Murnau from 1908, and Picasso's Striped Bodice from September 1943.
- Alan Bond could not pay off the painting, and Irises was resold (probably for somewhat less) to the Getty Museum.
- Price excludes sales commission and other costs.
- Exact date of sale is not known.
- Later in 2002, Thomson donated his private collection, including the Rubens, to the Art Gallery of Ontario
- Annenberg subsequently donated it to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
- Rybolovlev resold Te Fare in February 2017 at Christie's in London for $25 million.
- Steve Wynn, who bid on the painting at auction, privately acquired the work several months later from the unidentified buyer for an undisclosed, supposedly lower price. Kenneth Griffin acquired it in 2004 from Wynn.
- The Nahmad family bought Suprematist Composition in 2008 at Sotheby's, New York, for $60,002,500 ($70 million in 2018 dollars) from the heirs of Kazimir Malevich.
- Usually estimated at "over €50 M" or "between 50 and 60 million Euros". On July 12, 2011, $75M was equivalent to €53M.
- Re-sold for £12m to Stavros Niarchos in 1993.
- A Belgian banker and collector who bought it in 1939 for $18,000. His was the last name on the 1988 provenance list; painting came from "a private collection in Arizona"
- Son of Daniel (conductor & cellist) and Eleanore Saidenberg who were Picasso's New York dealers from 1955 to 1973.
- On Oct. 7, 2005, The New York Times reported that Steven Cohen bought van Gogh's "Peasant Woman Against a Background of Wheat" and Gauguin's "Bathers" (1903) from Steve Wynn for approximately $110 million, though guesses range from $100-150 million. One or both of the paintings may thus occur higher on this list.
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- On June 11, 2017, Ms. Gund revealed that she intended to use the proceeds from the sale of the painting for a specific purpose: to create a fund that supports criminal justice reform and seeks to reduce mass incarceration in the United States.Pogrebin, Robin (11 June 2017). "Agnes Gund Sells a Lichtenstein to Start Criminal Justice Fund". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 June 2017.
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