List of most expensive paintings
This is a list of the highest known prices paid for paintings. The earliest sale listed (Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers by Vincent van Gogh) is from 1987, and more than tripled the previous record price, set only two years before, introducing a new era in the history of high sums of money paid for paintings. The sale was also significant in that for the first time a "modern" painting (in this case from 1888) became the record holder, as opposed to the old master paintings which had always previously held it. The current record price is approximately $450 million paid for Leonardo da Vinci's Salvator Mundi in November 2017.
The world's most famous paintings, especially old master works done before 1803, are generally owned or held at museums, for viewing by patrons. The museums rarely sell them, and as such, they are quite literally priceless. Guinness World Records lists the Mona Lisa as having the highest insurance value for a painting in history. On permanent display at The Louvre museum 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$620 million in 2016.
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 (£53.5 million in 2016 pounds sterling) it 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 (£19.3 million in 2016 pounds sterling) paid by the J. Paul Getty Museum for 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 ($28 million in 2016 dollars) from the Princely Family of Liechtenstein. The sale of Van Gogh's Sunflowers was also significant in that for 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 eleven pre-1875 paintings among the listed top 98, and no works painted between 1658 and 1874, except for Leonardo da Vinci's c. 1500 Salvator Mundi, which in 2017 set the world record.
An exceptional case is graffiti artist David Choe, who accepted payment in shares for painting graffiti art in the headquarters of a fledgling Facebook. While his shares were of limited value when he was awarded them, by the time of Facebook's IPO they were valued at around $200m.
Van Gogh, Picasso, and Warhol
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 (supposedly) sold only one painting in his lifetime, The Red Vineyard, for 400 francs (about $2000 (?) in 2017) to the impressionist painter and heiress Anna Boch. Prices realised for only his ten paintings in the list below, if adjusted for inflation to 2016, add up to over $880 million.
Most expensive painting by a female artist
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 $44.4 million (equivalent to $45.5 million in 2016).
This section needs to be updated.(July 2018)
List of highest prices paid
This list is ordered by GDP deflator inflation-adjusted value (in bold) in millions of United States dollars in 2016.[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
|$450.3||$450.3||Salvator Mundi||Attributed to
Leonardo da Vinci
|c. 1500||November 15, 2017||1||Dmitry Rybolovlev||Abu Dhabi Department of Culture & Tourism||Christie's, New York|
|~$304||~$300||Interchange||Willem de Kooning||1955||September 2015||1||David Geffen Foundation||Kenneth C. Griffin||Private sale|
|$270 +||$250 + [note 2]||The Card Players||Paul Cézanne||1892/93||April 2011||1||George Embiricos||State of Qatar||Private sale|
|$213||$210 ||Nafea Faa Ipoipo
(When Will You Marry?)
|Paul Gauguin||1892||September 2014||2||Heirs of Rudolf Staechelin||State of Qatar||Private sale|
|~$203||~$200||Number 17A||Jackson Pollock||1948||September 2015||4||David Geffen Foundation||Kenneth C. Griffin||Private sale|
|$194.6||$183.8||Wasserschlangen II||Gustav Klimt||1904-07||2012||Yves Bouvier||Dmitry Rybolovlev||Private sale|
|No. 6 (Violet, Green and Red)||Mark Rothko||1951||August 2014||2||Cherise Moueix||Dmitry Rybolovlev||Private sale via|
|Pendant portraits of
and Oopjen Coppit
|Rembrandt||1634||September 2015||4||Éric de Rothschild||Rijksmuseum
|$181.7||$179.4||Les Femmes d'Alger
|Pablo Picasso||1955||May 11, 2015||4||Private collection||Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani||Christie's, New York|
|$172.6||$170.4||Nu Couché||Amedeo Modigliani||1917/18||November 9, 2015||6||Laura Mattioli Rossi||Liu Yiqian||Christie's, New York|
|$165.0||$165.0||Masterpiece||Roy Lichtenstein||1962||January 2017||10||Agnes Gund||Steven A. Cohen||Private sale|
|$164.5||$140||No. 5, 1948||Jackson Pollock||1948||November 2, 2006||1||David Geffen||David Martinez||Private sale via Sotheby's|
|$161.6||$137.5||Woman III||Willem de Kooning||1953||November 18, 2006||2||David Geffen||Steven A. Cohen||Private sale via Larry Gagosian|
|$161.5||$155||Le Rêve||Pablo Picasso||1932||March 26, 2013||5||Steve Wynn||Steven A. Cohen||Private sale|
|$158.7||$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|
|$157.2||$157.2||Nu couché (sur le côté gauche)||Amedeo Modigliani||1917||May 15, 2018||Sotheby's, New York|
|$150.0||$150||Adele Bloch-Bauer II||Gustav Klimt||1912||2016||14||Oprah Winfrey||Unidentified buyer in China||Private sale via Larry Gagosian|
|$148.4||$142.4||Three Studies of Lucian Freud||Francis Bacon||1969||November 12, 2013||7||[note 3]||Elaine Wynn, ex-wife of Steve Wynn||Christie's, New York|
|$137.7||$82.5||Portrait of Dr. Gachet||Vincent van Gogh||1890||May 15, 1990||1||Heirs of Siegfried Kramarsky||Ryoei Saito[note 4]||Christie's, New York|
|$130.3||$78.1||Bal du moulin de la Galette
|Pierre-Auguste Renoir||1876||May 17, 1990||2||Betsey Whitney||Ryoei Saito [note 6]||Sotheby's, New York|
|$130.2||$104.2||Garçon à la pipe||Pablo Picasso||1905||May 5, 2004||3||Greentree Foundation
|Guido Barilla (suspected)||Sotheby's, New York|
|$127.0||$119.9||The Scream [note 7]||Edvard Munch||1895||May 2, 2012||8||Petter Olsen||Leon Black||Sotheby's, New York|
|$125.1||$120||Otahi||Paul Gauguin||1893||2013||Yves Bouvier||Dmitry Rybolovlev||Private sale|
|$125||$118||Reclining Nude With Blue Cushion||Amedeo Modigliani||1917||2012||8||Steven A. Cohen||Dmitry Rybolovlev||Private sale via Yves Bouvier|
|$121.1||$110.0||Flag [note 8]||Jasper Johns||1954||March 2010||7||Jean-Christophe Castelli||Steven A. Cohen||Private sale, estimated price|
|$117.2||$106.5||Nude, Green Leaves and Bust||Pablo Picasso||1932||May 4, 2010||8||Frances Lasker Brody estate||Leonard Blavatnik (suspected)||Christie's, New York|
|$115.0||$115||Young Girl with a Flower Basket||Pablo Picasso||1905||May 8, 2018||David and Peggy Rockefeller||Unidentified buyer||Christie's, New York|
|$112.3||$100.0||Eight Elvises||Andy Warhol||1963||October 2008||10||Annibale Berlingieri||The State of Qatar (suspected)||Private sale via Philippe Ségalot|
|$111.9||$95.2||Dora Maar au Chat||Pablo Picasso||1941||May 3, 2006||5||Gidwitz family||Boris Ivanishvili||Sotheby's, New York|
|$110.5||$110.5||Untitled||Jean-Michel Basquiat||1982||May 18, 2017||28||Yusaku Maezawa||Sotheby’s, New York|
|$110.2 +||$105.7 + [note 9]
|Anna's Light||Barnett Newman||1968||October 4, 2013||18||DIC Corp.||Private sale|
|$109.9||$105.4||Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster)||Andy Warhol||1963||November 13, 2013||20||Sotheby's, New York|
|$104||$100||La Montagne Sainte-Victoire
vue du bosquet du Château Noir
|Paul Cézanne||1904||2013 [note 10]||20||Edsel and Eleanor Ford House||State of Qatar ||Private sale|
works [note 11]
|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
|$101.0||$71.5||Portrait de l'artiste sans barbe||Vincent van Gogh||1889||November 19, 1998||5||Heirs of Jacques Koerfer||Christie's, New York|
|Massacre of the Innocents||Peter Paul Rubens||1611||July 10, 2002||6||an Austrian family||Kenneth Thomson[note 12]||Sotheby's, London|
|$100.3||$53.9||Irises||Vincent van Gogh||1889||November 11, 1987||1||son of Joan Whitney Payson||Alan Bond [note 13]||Sotheby's, New York|
|$96.9||$86.3||Triptych, 1976||Francis Bacon||1976||May 14, 2008||13||Moueix family ||Roman Abramovich||Sotheby's, New York|
|$96.6||$95.4||Nurse||Roy Lichtenstein||1964||November 9, 2015||30||Christie's, New York|
|Te Fare (La maison)||Paul Gauguin||1892||2008||Yves Bouvier||Dmitry Rybolovlev||Private sale|
|$94.0||$80.0||False Start||Jasper Johns||1959||October 12, 2006||11||David Geffen||Kenneth C. Griffin||Private sale via Richard Gray|
|$92.0||$86.9||Orange, Red, Yellow||Mark Rothko||1961||May 8, 2012||26||Estate of David Pincus||Christie's, New York|
|$91.6||$80.0||Turquoise Marilyn||Andy Warhol||1964||May 20, 2007||17||Stefan Edlis||Steven A. Cohen||Private sale via Larry Gagosian|
|Le Bassin aux Nymphéas||Claude Monet||1919||June 24, 2008||20||J. Irwin and Xenia S. Miller||Christie's, London|
|$89.9||$70.0||Portrait of Alfonso d'Avalos,
Marquis of Vasto,
in Armor with a Page
|Titian||1533||November 2003||10||AXA insurance company||Getty Museum||Private sale via|
|$87.9||$57||A Wheatfield with Cypresses||Vincent van Gogh||1889||May 1993||6||son of Emil Georg Bührle||Walter H. Annenberg [note 14]||Private sale via Steven Mazoh|
|$86.2||$84.2||Black Fire I||Barnett Newman||1961||May 13, 2014||35||Private Collection||Anonymous||Christie's, New York|
|$85.8||$85.8||Suprematist Composition||Kazimir Malevich||1916||May 15, 2018||Anonymous[note 15]||Christie's, New York|
|Les Noces de Pierrette||Pablo Picasso||1905||November 30, 1989||3||Fredrik Roos||Tomonori Tsurumaki||Binoche et Godeau Paris|
|$84.7||$84.7||Nymphéas en fleur||Claude Monet||1914-1917||May 8, 2018||David and Peggy Rockefeller||Unidentified buyer||Christie's, New York|
|$84.2||$60.5||Rideau, Cruchon et Compotier||Paul Cézanne||1894||May 10, 1999||9||Whitney Family [note 16]||Sotheby's, New York|
|$83.9||$81.9||Triple Elvis||Andy Warhol||1963||November 12, 2014||40||WestSpiel ||Christie's, New York|
|$83.4||$72.8||White Center (Yellow, Pink
and Lavender on Rose)
|Mark Rothko||1950||May 15, 2007||19||David Rockefeller, Sr.||Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani ||Sotheby's, New York|
|$83.0||$81.9||No. 10||Mark Rothko||1958||May 13, 2015||43||Christie's, New York|
|$82.8||$47.8||Yo, Picasso||Pablo Picasso||1901||May 9, 1989||2||Wendell Cherry||Stavros Niarchos||Sotheby's, New York|
|$82.7||$80.8||Three Studies for a
Portrait of John Edwards
|Francis Bacon||1984||May 13, 2014||39||Private Collection||Anonymous||Christie's, New York.|
|$82.1||$71.7||Green Car Crash
(Green Burning Car I)
|Andy Warhol||1963||May 16, 2007||21||Private collection, Zürich||Philip Niarchos||Christie's, New York|
|$81.4||$81.4||Meule||Claude Monet||1891||November 16, 2016||49||Christie's, New York|
|$81.3||$81.3||Laboureur dans un champ||Vincent van Gogh||1889||November 13, 2017||52||Nancy Lee and Perry R. Bass estate||Christie's, New York|
(€50-60) [note 17]
|Darmstadt Madonna||Hans Holbein||1526||July 12, 2011||29||Donatus, Landgrave of Hesse||Reinhold Würth||Private sale via|
Christoph Graf Douglas
|$80.8||$80.8||Odalisque couchée aux magnolias||Henri Matisse||1923||May 8, 2018||David and Peggy Rockefeller||Unidentified buyer||Christie's, New York|
|$79.5||$75.1||No 1 (Royal Red and Blue)||Mark Rothko||1954||November 13, 2012||36||John and Anne Marion||Sotheby's, New York|
|Diana and Actaeon||Titian||1556–1559||February 1, 2009||26||Duke of Sutherland||National Galleries of Scotland
& National Gallery, London
|$77.8||$68||The Gross Clinic||Thomas Eakins||1875||April 12, 2007||21||Thomas Jefferson University||Philadelphia Museum of Art||Private sale|
|$75.9||$69.0||Nude Sitting on a Divan
("La Belle Romaine")
|Amedeo Modigliani||1917||November 2, 2010||33||Halit Cıngıllıoglu||Sotheby's, New York|
|Diana and Callisto||Titian||1556–1559||March 2, 2012||38||Duke of Sutherland||National Galleries of Scotland
& National Gallery, London
|Private sale |
|$74.8||$55.0||Femme aux Bras Croisés||Pablo Picasso||1902||November 8, 2000||13||McCormick family, Chicago||Christie's, New York|
|$74.6||$63.5||Police Gazette||Willem de Kooning||1955||October 12, 2006||20||David Geffen||Steven A. Cohen||Private sale via Richard Gray.|
|Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers||Vincent van Gogh||1888||March 30, 1987||1||Helen Beatty,
|Yasuo Goto, Yasuda Comp.||Christie's, London|
|$71.7||$69.6||Portrait of George Dyer Talking||Francis Bacon||1966||February 13, 2014||Christie's, New York|
|$71.4||$70.5||Untitled (New York City)||Cy Twombly||1968||November 11, 2015||61||Family of Sydney M. Irmas||Christie's, New York|
|$71.3||$69.6||Untitled||Cy Twombly||1970||November 12, 2014||55||Nicola del Roscio ||Christie's, New York|
|$71.3||$69.6||Four Marlons||Andy Warhol||1966||November 12, 2014||55||WestSpiel ||Christie's, New York|
|Eagle Standing on Pine Tree||Qi Baishi||1946||May 22, 2011||38||Liu Yiqian||Hunan TV & Broadcast
|China Guardian Auctions|
|$70.4||$40.7||Au Lapin Agile||Pablo Picasso||1904||November 27, 1989||5||daughter of Joan Whitney Payson||Walter H. Annenberg||Sotheby's, New York|
|$70.1||$70.1||Contraste de formes||Fernand Léger||1913||November 13, 2017||68||Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation||Christie's, New York|
|$69.7||$63.4||Men in Her Life||Andy Warhol||1962||November 8, 2010||37||Jose Mugrabi||Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani ||Phillips de Pury & Company|
|Acrobate et jeune arlequin
|Pablo Picasso||1905||November 28, 1988||3||Heir of Roger Janssen (suspected)
|$68.9||$49.5||Femme assise dans un jardin||Pablo Picasso||1938||November 10, 1999||13||Robert Saidenberg [note 20] ||Sotheby's, New York|
|$68.3||$67.45||La Gommeuse||Pablo Picasso||1901||November 5, 2015||63||William I. Koch||Sotheby's, New York.|
|$68.2||$67.4||Buste de femme
(Femme à la résille)
|Pablo Picasso||1938||May 11, 2015||59||Steve Wynn||Joseph Lau||Christie's, New York|
|$67.8||$47.5||Peasant Woman Against
a Background of Wheat
|Vincent van Gogh||1890||1997||12||Steve Wynn[note 21]||Private sale via|
Acquavella Galleries Inc.,
|$67.8||$66.2||Untitled||Mark Rothko||1952||May 13, 2014||54||Private Collection||Anonymous||Christie's, New York|
|$67.2||$66.3||L’Allée des Alyscamps||Vincent van Gogh||1888||May 5, 2015||60||Sotheby's, New York|
|Zhichuan Resettlement||Wang Meng||1350||June 4, 2011||42||Beijing Poly Auction|
|$66.7||$65.1||Spring (Le Printemps)||Édouard Manet||1881||November 5, 2014||57||Getty Museum||Christie's, New York|
|$66.5||$61.7||1949-A-No.1||Clyfford Still||1949||November 9, 2011||44||City and County of Denver||Sotheby's, New York|
|$66.3||$66.3||Untitled XXV||Willem de Kooning||1977||November 15, 2016||70||Christie's, New York|
|$64.4||$62.9||Race Riot||Andy Warhol||1964||May 13, 2014||57||Private Collection||Anonymous||Christie's, New York|
|$63.7||$63.7||Femme Assise||Pablo Picasso||1909||June 24, 2016||Sotheby's, London|
|$63.2||$61.8||Nature morte, Vase aux marguerites et coquelicots||Vincent van Gogh||1890||November 4, 2014||Sotheby's, New York|
|$62.8||$45.1||Nu au fauteuil noir, 1932||Pablo Picasso||1932||November 9, 1999||Christie's, New York|
|$60.9||$35.2||Portrait of a Halberdier||Pontormo||1537||May 31, 1989||5||Chauncey Stillman||Getty Museum||Christie'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.
- Exact price (even the currency of sale) is not known, with estimates from $250 million to even $300 million
- 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
- Reportedly, Gachet's portrait was privately resold to a European buyer in 1997 or 1998 for $65-$90 million through Sotheby’s
- 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.
- This stands as the most expensive painting by a living artist.
- Price excludes sales commission and other costs.
- Exact date of sale is not known.
- 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.
- Later in 2002, Thomson donated his private collection, including the Rubens, to the Art Gallery of Ontario
- Alan Bond could not pay off the painting, and Irises was resold (probably for somewhat less) to the Getty Museum.
- Annenberg subsequently donated it to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
- Purchased this painting for $60,002,500 in 2008.
- 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.
- 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.
- Frank, Robert (12 June 2017). "Steve Cohen buys Roy Lichtenstein's 'Masterpiece' for $165 million". Retrieved 2017-06-18.
- Carol Vogel, A Pollock Is Sold, Possibly for a Record Price, New York Times, November 2, 2006
- Carol Vogel, Landmark De Kooning Crowns Collection, New York Times, November 18, 2006
- Carol Vogel & Peter Lattman, $616 Million Poorer, Hedge Fund Owner Still Buys Art, New York Times, March 26, 2013
- Carol Vogel, Lauder Pays $135 Million, a Record, for a Klimt Portrait, New York Times, June 19, 2006
- Lot description and auction details of "Nu couché (sur le côté gauche)" at Sotheby's website.
- "The Gustav Klimt Painting Oprah Reportedly Sold for $150M Has Quite a Story". The Hollywood Reporter.
- Crow, Kelly (7 November 2013). "Bringing Home the Bacon". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 14 November 2013.
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- Carol Vogel, Buyer of $142.4 Million Bacon Triptych Identified as Elaine Wynn, New York Times, January 15, 2014
- Vogel, Carol (November 12, 2013). "Bacon's Study of Freud Sells for $142.4 Million". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved November 13, 2013.
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- Dan Duray, qatar may have purchased Warhol's 'Eight Elvises', ArtNews 08/07/14
- The Pop master's highs and lows, The Economist, 26 November 2009.
- Marc Spiegler, he Hunt for the Red Collector, New York Magazine, 22 August 2006.
- Lot description and auction details of "Dora Maar au Chat" at Sotheby's website.
- Pogrebin, Robin; Reyburn, Scott (18 May 2017). "A Basquiat Sells for 'Mind-Blowing' $110.5 Million at Auction" – via www.nytimes.com.
- "DIC Sells 'Anna's Light' Painting For Y10.3bn Gain".
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