20 – 75.1 million. ” NO 1 (ROYAL RED AND BLUE ) ” Mark Rothko , 1954 , SOLD IN 2012

This majestic canvas was eight personally selected by Rothko for his historic 1954 solo exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago works.

19 – 76.7 million. ” SLAUGHTER OF THE INNOCENT ” Peter Paul Rubens , 1610 , SOLD IN 2002

Bought by Kenneth Thompson at Sotheby’s , London , in July 2002 , the flamboyant and dramatic work of Rubens ( although recently some voices argue about its authenticity ) could also fight for the title of “most unexpected success ” : Christie had estimated the price ” only ” about 5 million pounds.

18 – 78.1 million. Pierre-Auguste Renoir , ” Le Moulin de la Galette ” . 1876 , SOLD IN 1990

At the time of its sale in 1990 , it was the second most expensive painting ever sold . This masterpiece was acquired by the chairman of Daishowa Paper Manufacturing Co. , Ryoei Saito. He wanted to be cremated with the work of his death, but his companies ran into problems loans and debts , so it had to be sold as collateral.

17 – 80 million. TURQUOISE OF ANDY WARHOL MARILYN , 1964 , SOLD IN 2007

Bought by Mr. Steve Cohen , the price was not confirmed , but it is generally accepted to be true

16 – 80 million. JASPER JOHNS – “FALSE START” , 1959 , SOLD IN 2006

This work , formerly owned by Geffen and allegedly sold to the director and chief executive of Citadel Investment Group, Kenneth C. Griffin. The price makes this the most expensive painting sold by a living artist , Jasper Johns iconic .

15 – 82.5 million. VINCENT VAN GOGH ” PORTRAIT OF DR . Gachet ” , 1890 , SOLD IN 19904

It was auctioned in 1990 and was bought by the Japanese businessman Ryoei Saito, this was , at that time the most expensive painting in the world . Saito (then was 75 years old ) caused controversy at the time , saying that when he died , the painting would be cremated with him. Later , he clarified what he had said , that only the expression used to show his intense affection for the work.

14 – 86.3 million. FRANCIS BACON ” TRIPTYCH ” , 1976 SOLD IN 2008

Breaking the previous record sale of their work ( 52.68 million dollars ) , the masterpiece of 3 pieces of Bacon , was sold to Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich , breaking the initial estimate of 70 million.

13 – 87.9 million. GUSTAV KLIMT ” PORTRAIT OF ADELE BLOCH – BAUER II” , 1912 , SOLD IN 2006

The only model that painted twice Klimt and a few months sold after the first version , this portrait of Bloch- Bauer was a part of a lot in 2006 of four paintings by Klimt that came to cost a total of 192 million of dollars. The buyer is unknown.

12 – 95.2 billion. DORA MAAR PABLO PICASSO AU CHAT , 1941 , SOLD IN 2006

Picasso , at one time reached the second highest price ever paid at auction, and by an anonymous buyer . Auctioned in 2006 , a mysterious Russian bidder took it home (along with Monet and Chagall , spending more than 100 million dollars) and no one has yet discovered his identity. The ownership of the painting has not been made public yet.

11- 104.2 million. PABLO PICASSO ” Garçon à la pipe ” , 1905 , SOLD IN 2004

Until then, the highest price ever paid for a painting at auction ( the others were all private sales ) , and was also the first painting to break the barrier of 100 million dollars. The strange thing is that never made public who expressed such an interest in Picasso ‘s portrait of a Parisian smoker.


The most expensive of the famous guru of Pop Art , Andy Warhol, the monumental work “Silver Car Crash” was the star of the evening sale of Contemporary Art at Sotheb.

9 – 106.5 million. PABLO PICASSO, ” NAKED , GREENS AND BUST ” , 1932 , SOLD IN 2010

This sensual and colorful masterpiece , is the most expensive Picasso ever sold at auction. The work, from the collection of Mrs. Sidney F. Brody , had never been exhibited in public since 1961 .

8 – 110 million. JASPER JOHNS , ” FLAG” , 1958 , SOLD IN 2010

“Flag ” is one of the most famous works of Jasper Johns. The artist painted his first flag of the United States in 1954-55 , a work that is currently on display at MoMA .

7 – 119.9 million, Edvard Munch, “The Scream” , 1895 , SOLD IN 2012

This landmark work was the most expensive painting ever sold at auction, until it was surpassed by “Three Studies of Lucian Freud ” Bacon . This is the most colorful of the four versions of “The Scream ” and the only one still in private hands.

6 – $ 135 million , GUSTAV KLIMT , ” ” Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I ” , 1907 , SOLD IN 2006

This picture was sold by Maria Altmann , who after a long and complicated court battle was considered the rightful owner of Klimt and several others. The painting was bought by Ronald Lauder for his Neue Galerie New York , to be the centerpiece of a collection of Jewish-owned art rescued from Nazi looting that took place in World War II .

5 – 137.5 million. Willem de Kooning , ” Woman III ” , 1953 , SOLD IN 2006

Another painting sold by Geffen in 2006 , but this time purchased by billionaire Steven A. Cohen. It is part of a series of 6 paintings by de Kooning in the period 1951-1953 , which revolved around the issue of women and is supposedly the only “woman” still in private hands .

4 – 140 million. JACKSON POLLOCK ” NO.5 ” , 1948 , SOLD IN 2006

It is stated in the New York Times that this painting was sold by David Geffen ( Geffen Records) David Martinez ( managing partner of Fintech Advisory) . However, a press release issued on behalf of Martinez claims that actually did not buy the painting. So the truth is a mystery and can only speculate that was sold for a record $ 140 million.

3 – 142.4 million, FRANCIS BACON , ” THREE STUDIES OF LUCIAN FREUD ” , 1969 , SOLD IN 2013

Not only is it the most expensive painting ever sold at auction , but also a record for a work of contemporary art. Christie explained that when this work was painted “the relationship between Freud and Bacon was at its peak ”.

2 – $ 155 million , PABLO PICASSO, Le Reve ( The Dream) , 1932 , SOLD IN 2013

” La Rêve ( The Dream ) ” is one of the most sensual and famous paintings by Picasso , depicting his lover Marie – Therese Walter sitting on a red chair with his eyes closed . In 2006 , Steve Wynn agreed to sell the painting to Steven Cohen for $ 139 million , but the sale was canceled when Mr. Wynn accidentally damaged the box . Finally In 2013 ” dream ” was acquired by Steven Cohen, after paying 155 million dollars.

1 – 250 million, PAUL CÉZANNE “LES joueurs de cartes ” , 1895 , SOLD IN 2011

The exact price of The Card Players (including currency sales) is not known, but estimates range from 259 to even 320 million dollars. The Card Players is a series of oil paintings of French post-impressionist artist Paul Cezanne. Painted during the final period of Cézanne, in early 1890, there are five works in the series. We should note, however, that the boys from the royal family of Qatar did not buy the series but only this painting by ~ 259 million. The series is considered by critics as one of the pillars of the art of Cézanne during the early to mid-1890s, as a prelude to his later years, when he painted some of his most acclaimed works. The models for the paintings were local laborers, some of whom worked on the farm of Cézanne, the Jas de Bouffan family. In each scene are represented calm, concentrated, men look down at your cards instead of looking at each other, the letters being perhaps his only means of communication outside of work. One critic described the scenes as “artificial human nature,” while another speculated that the intense attention of men in their play reflects the absorption of the painter for his art.

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