Most Expensive Works of Art of All Time: Renaissance, mannerism, baroque, rococo, neoclassicism, romanticism, realism, impressionism, pointillism, modernism, expressionism, futurism, Dadaism, surrealism, modern art, pop art, graffiti, contemporary art… The world of art has always been full of fantasy and mystery, celebrities and glamour, intrigues and pretension. And its relationship with the market is quite interesting. Sometimes, a work of art can cost very much, and yet be virtually invaluable. And of course, contemporary art always poses the question about how can it be priced, taking into account new technologies, reproduction, art techniques, etc.
There is one person that’s usually one step ahead regarding is matter: Steven Cohen, American hedge fund manager and famous art investor, founder of SAC Capital Advisors, fund which focuses on equity market strategies. Steven Cohen is well known for his art investments and he has currently added some Picasso to his collection: “Le Reve”, acquired at a price of about $155 million. Previously we also covered the World’s 20 Most Expensive Paintings in a seperate article.
So, have you ever wondered how much a piece of art can cost? Here’s a countdown of the most expensive works of art sold. Getting the numbers accurate isn’t easy. Prices need to be adjusted from original sums and private sales and auctions need to be taken into account.
No. 10 Andy Warhol – “Silver Car Crash [Double Disaster]”, (1932)
This artwork was sold at Sotheby’s New York, in November 2013 by an anonymous buyer. It was worth $105.4 Million, and is considered the most expensive work of art by famous Pop Art legend Andy Warhol.
No. 9 Pablo Picasso – “Nude, Green Leaves and Bust”, (1932)
Pablo Picasso is indeed one of the most famous artists of the XXth century, and has numerous works of art highly valued. This masterpiece is the most expensive work of art by Picasso ever sold at an auction. Previously owned by Mrs. Sidney F. Brody, and un-exhibited in public since 1961, was bought by an anonymous buyer at Christie’s New York, during May 2010, at a price $106.5 Million.
No. 8 Jasper Johns – “Flag”, (1958)
This painting was sold at $110 Million during 2010, at a private sale, and bought by Steven Cohen. This painting is one of Jasper Johns most famous pieces of art, and it was painted during 1958 as a part of a series of flags, between 1954 and 1958. Most of them are recently exhibited at the MoMA.
No. 7 Edvard Munch – “The Scream”, (1895)
One of the most iconic artworks of expressionism, Munch’s work is one of the most expensive ever sold in auction. The work was bought by the royal family of Qatar at $119.9 million, at Sotheby’s New York.
No. 6 Francis Bacon – “Three Studies of Lucian Freud”, (1969)
Last year, at Christie’s New York, this piece of art was sold by Francesco De Simone Niquesa to an unknown buyer at a price of $142.4 million. The triptych was painted by Bacon in 1969 at the Royal College of Art in London, and first exhibited a year later at the Galleria d’Arte Galatea in Turin. Christie’s stated that “Three Studies of Lucian Freud, 1969 marks the epic culmination of Francis Bacon’s relationship with fellow painter and chronicler of the human condition, Lucian Freud”.
No. 5 Gustav Klimnt – “Adele Bloch-bauer I”, (1907)
The Nazis had confiscated this work during the Second World War, and during the second postwar, it was placed at the National Gallery of Austria. The canvas was returned to the heirs of Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer some time ago. During 2006, the painting was sold at a private sale to Ronald Lauder, at a price of $135 million.
No. 4 Willem de Kooning – “Woman III”, (1952-53)
This artwork was sold by David Geffen at a Private Sale, to Steven Cohen, at a price of $137.5 million. This painting has been chosen one of the 50 masterworks of the history of painting.
No. 3 Jackson Pollock – “Number 5, 1948”, (1948)
Sold at a private sale by David Geffen to an unknown buyer, rumored to be a Mexican Businessman called David Martinez, the work was worth $140 million. With a dripping technic Pollock’s work is considered to be one of the most expensive among contemporary art. Its price demonstrates that not only classical paintings can reach this kind of sums, and showes the strength of the Art Market.
No. 2 Pablo Picasso – “La Rêve (The Dream)”, (1932)
This magnificent piece of art is one of Picasso’s most sensual and famous paintings. Her portray of Marie-Therese Walter sitting on a red armchair. During 2006, Steve Wynn agreed to sell the painting to Steven Cohen, for $155 million. Anyway, the sale was cancelled when Mr. Wynn accidentally damaged the work.
No. 1 Paul Cezanne – “The Card Players”, (1892-93)
This piece of art was bought by the royal family of Qatar for $250 million, at a private sale, by George Embiricos. This is the last version of this famous composition by Paul Cézanne still in private hands. The fabulous psychological intensity in the faces of the players make this painting a masterpiece of post-impressionist art.