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  • Writer's pictureVishakha

The Most Expensive Paintings in the World

Does it boggle your mind too when you hear about an expensive painting being sold for millions of dollars? If you just answered yes to that question, then this blog is going to amaze you even more.

People buy and sell paintings all the time, but only a few manage to reach the league of millions. Most of these paintings are by the old maestros who revolutionized the art world and are now worshipped as pioneers for their contributions. Keep reading to find out about every masterpiece in this list. 

4 Most Expensive Paintings Based on Their Selling Price

Every time painting masterpieces are discussed, the Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci always manages to steal the show. It was valued at $100 million in December 1962 which makes it $970 million at present — just a little shy of touching a billion.  Now on display at the Louvre, this is not only the most expensive painting in the world but also priceless. Since the Louvre is likely never going to sell it, we have excluded it from the list. Rest assured you are still going to be mind blown nonetheless. 

1. Salvator Mundi- Painted by Leonardo da Vinci

The most expensive painting, Salvator Mundi by Leonardo Da Vinci

The crown-bearer of the most expensive painting ever sold, this depiction of Jesus was sold for a whopping $450 million. The transaction took place at a Christie’s auction that was held in 2017 by a buyer acting on behalf of a prince of Saudi Arabia. If we take inflation into account, the current value of this painting would roughly come around $507 million. 

An interesting fact about the painting is that it had disappeared for almost 2 centuries before it was rediscovered in 2005. Severely damaged and in urgent need of restoration, it was then sold at a lowkey auction for just $1,175. It is also a very controversial painting because many scholars believe that it might not have been made by Da Vinci alone.

2. Interchange - Painted by Willem de Kooning

Interchange painting by William de Kooning

This painting has gone down in history as a significant piece of work for various reasons. Standing second in this list, it is still the most expensive contemporary painting. In 1989 it was sold for $20.68 million, which was the then highest price for a living artist’s work. Finally, the painting was bought by David Geffen for $300 million in September 2015.

De Kooning was one of the earliest artists from the abstract expressionism movement and this is his seminal piece. It marks his shift of subjects from women to urban landscape and also a change in his techniques. At present its valuation stands at $350.4 million.

3. The Card Players - Painted by Paul Cézanne

The card players painting by Paul Cézanne

Bought by the Royal Family of Qatar in 2011 for $250 million, it is now valued at $307.8 million. This is another seminal work on this list and a part of five oil painting series of the same name. The other four paintings are on display at different museums in Paris, Philadelphia, London, and New York. This is the only painting out of five, which is privately held.

At the time when it was sold, it was the highest price paid for a piece of art, and is still a proud possession of Qatar.

4. When Will You Marry - Painted by Paul Gauguin

When will you marry painting by Paul Gauguin

The painting’s original name is ‘Nafea Faa Ipoipo.’ It is one of the first paintings Gauguin created after he went on a trip to Tahiti in 1891. The inspiration taken from Tahitian culture is quite evident in the work. 

The ownership of the painting changed in September 2014 when it was bought for $210 million by a buyer from Qatar. The transaction is considered to be one of the most significant ones in the world. The reason is both the popularity of the work as well as the controversy it attracted. It was claimed to have been sold for $300 million initially. Had that been the truth, it would have become the most expensive painting sold at that time.

Expensive Paintings Are More Than Just About Exorbitant Price

Purchasing pieces of art comes with several reasons attached to it. People collect them for their aesthetic appeal, appearance, sentimental value, or sometimes simply because of the backstory it carries. All of these factors combined can highly influence the price of an artwork. However, given the trends in the past couple of decades, buying art has also become an excellent investment choice. Several platforms have started facilitating the sale of art and TERAVARNA is also a part of one such initiative. We have recently launched our Marketplace that displays works of contemporary artists from around the world. What makes it more appealing is that we are a global platform, thus you can buy their artwork from any corner of the world.

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