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Top 10: World's Most Expensive Paintings

Updated on March 13, 2009

Introduction

If the media is anything to believe, the world's economy is in a terrible state. So to make everyone feel better, we take a look at the incredibly large amounts of money people have spent on some of the world's finest paintings.

The top 10 list comes from both auctions and private sales from around the world, although the majority of the sales come from the last 5 years.

Interesting to know, the most famous painting in the world, Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa was insured for $100 million back in 1962. Adjusted for inflation to 2005 would make it worth $645 Million! Of course, there aren't many people in the world who can afford such paintings, us mere mortals have to live with canvas art.

10. Jasper Johns - False Start - $80,000,000

10. Jasper Johns - False Start - $80,000,000
10. Jasper Johns - False Start - $80,000,000

10. Jasper Johns - False Start - $80,000,000

Bought in 2006 by the founders of the Citadel Investment Group Anne and Kenneth Griffin for $80 Million made this one of the most expensive American paintings in the world. Johns is a regarded as a Neo-Dadaists and say he rejected the unique individualism of the Abstract Expressionists.

9. Claude Monet - Le Bassin aux Nymphéas - $80,400,000

9. Claude Monet - Le Bassin aux Nymphéas - $80,400,000
9. Claude Monet - Le Bassin aux Nymphéas - $80,400,000

9. Claude Monet - Le Bassin aux Nymphéas - $80,400,000

One of Monet's most famous paintings. "Le Bassin aux Nympheas" from the "water lilies" series. The painting, depicting a beautiful scene of a bridge with floating water lilies became the most expensive Monet back in 2008 when it sold for double the previous highest Monet.

8. Vincent van Gogh - Portrait du Dr Gachet - $82,500,000

8. Vincent van Gogh - Portrait du Dr Gachet - $82,500,000
8. Vincent van Gogh - Portrait du Dr Gachet - $82,500,000

8. Vincent van Gogh - Portrait du Dr Gachet - $82,500,000

This is a previous "most expensive painting" after selling in 1990 to a Japanese Businessman for a staggering $82,500,000. It was painted 100 years before in 1890 and is one of two paintings depicting the great artists doctor.

7. Francis Bacon - Triptych 1976 - $86,300,000

7. Francis Bacon - Triptych 1976 - $86,300,000
7. Francis Bacon - Triptych 1976 - $86,300,000

7. Francis Bacon - Triptych 1976 - $86,300,000

The Irish painter is known for some dark and evil paintings. The Triptych 1976 collection was part of a much larger series of triptychs (three panels of art creating one image). It was purchased at auction in 2007 by Russian billionaire and Chelsea Football Team owner Roman Abramovich.

6. Gustav Klimt - Portrait of Adele Bloch-Baur II - $87,936,000

6. Gustav Klimt - Portrait of Adele Bloch-Baur II - $87,936,000
6. Gustav Klimt - Portrait of Adele Bloch-Baur II - $87,936,000

6. Gustav Klimt - Portrait of Adele Bloch-Baur II - $87,936,000

Adele Bloch-Baur was the wife of Industrialist Ferdinand Bloch-Baur and was an avid fan and sponsor of Klimts. The Austrian artist only ever painted one woman twice, this was here. Christies looked after the auction which netted close to $88 Million back in 2006.

5. Pablo Picasso - Dora Maar au chat - $95,216,000

5. Pablo Picasso - Dora Maar au chat - $95,216,000
5. Pablo Picasso - Dora Maar au chat - $95,216,000

5. Pablo Picasso - Dora Maar au chat - $95,216,000

2006 was a good year for expensive art. In May, this Pablo Picasso fetched almost twice it's estimate ($50 Million) when an anonymous Russian Bidder picked it up for a little over $95 million. Dora was Picasso's Mistress and the image has a cat resting on her shoulder.

4. Pablo Picasso - Garcon a la pipe - $104,168,000

4. Pablo Picasso - Garcon a la pipe - $104,168,000
4. Pablo Picasso - Garcon a la pipe - $104,168,000

4. Pablo Picasso - Garcon a la pipe - $104,168,000

Regarded by many art critics as one of Picasso's "average" paintings, "Garcon a la Pipe" (Boy with Pipe) stunned the art world by fetching a little over $104 Million which makes this the most expensive painting to be sold at an auction. Sotheby's of New York was were the magic happened back in 2004 almost 100 years after it was painted (1905)

3. Gustav Klimt - Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer - $135,000,000

3. Gustav Klimt - Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer - $135,000,000
3. Gustav Klimt - Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer - $135,000,000

3. Gustav Klimt - Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer - $135,000,000

This is the second of the two Klimt's depicting Adele Bloch-Bauer and was subjected to somewhat of a controversy. The painting was sold after the Austrian government forced a previous owner to return it to it's rightful owner after it was stolen by the Nazis in World War 2. The current owner is Ronald S. Lauder, the cosmetics heir.

2. Willem De Kooning - Woman III - $137,500,000

2. Willem De Kooning - Woman III - $137,500,000
2. Willem De Kooning - Woman III - $137,500,000

2. Willem De Kooning - Woman III - $137,500,000

Between 1951 and 1953, abstract impressionist Willem De Kooning painting 6 Woman paintings. This one, number 3 was originally hung in Iran until it was deemed "unsuitable" for public display. It was traded off for the last Tahmasabi Shahnameh. It was then sold to financial Billionaire Steven Cohen for the staggering $137.5 million.

1. Jackson Pollock - No5 1948 - $140,000,000

1. Jackson Pollock - No5 1948 - $140,000,000
1. Jackson Pollock - No5 1948 - $140,000,000

1. Jackson Pollock - No 5 1948 - $140,000,000

One of the most known abstract impressionists in the world. American Jackson Pollock is not to every one's taste, but he's one of America's best known Artists. It's also huge! It measures a staggering 8ft by 4ft. It's un-confirmed about the price of this piece, and who the current owner is. Inside reports say it went for $140 million back on 2006 to Mexican David Martinez.

Question...

If money was no object, which would you hang on your wall?

See results

Comments

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    • profile image

      Alison 8 years ago

      Wow, I've just read another one of these expensive art lists, and it missed out so many of these! Good job. Alison

    • WHoArtNow profile image
      Author

      WHoArtNow 8 years ago from Leicester, UK

      Thanks Alison. Yeah I read a few whilst researching this, and It annoyed me that they missed out some. That's why I wrote this one, to show people there are some very nice (and expensive) pieces of art out there!

      Andre

    • Abhishek87 profile image

      Abhishek87 8 years ago from India

      Liked the False start one though I don't think I'll ever understand why paintings that look quite simple to me fetch the maximum :D

    • LondonGirl profile image

      LondonGirl 8 years ago from London

      it's all just conspicous consumption, really. great list, and I like most of them, but wouldn't quite pay that......

    • Julie-Ann Amos profile image

      Julie-Ann Amos 8 years ago from Gloucestershire, UK

      Great list - I like it a lot and some nice piactures here (and some I'd PAY you to burn) but that's art isn't it? A matter of personal taste?

    • WHoArtNow profile image
      Author

      WHoArtNow 8 years ago from Leicester, UK

      @Abhishek87 - False Start is one of only a few I like too.

    • WHoArtNow profile image
      Author

      WHoArtNow 8 years ago from Leicester, UK

      @ LG - The monetory value seems to be a little high for some of them

    • WHoArtNow profile image
      Author

      WHoArtNow 8 years ago from Leicester, UK

      @ Julie - I would class it as art, but in my personal opinion, there's one or two that could do with being burned, or at least hung in a private gallery!

    • Dink96 profile image

      Dink96 8 years ago from Phoenix, AZ

      Ah, but "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" and that is what makes art so fascinating, ne'st pas?  Wonderful piece of info here.  I love to read about art auctions and yet, at the same time feel some sadness that some of these artists (like Monet, Degas) died paupers.  I hope they somehow know how much joy their art brings to the ages.  THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!  I absolutely LOVE art. Can't necessarily do it myself, but truly appreciate it.

    • WHoArtNow profile image
      Author

      WHoArtNow 8 years ago from Leicester, UK

      @Dink96 - Thanks a lot, although I think "beauty is in the eye of the BEERholder" suits some of them better! Yeah I love art too, and although I can't put together something as traditional as these, I can dabble with some (spray) paint!

    • Andromeda10 profile image

      Andromeda10 8 years ago from Chicago

      I can't believe so many would put up Francis Bacon, why?

    • WHoArtNow profile image
      Author

      WHoArtNow 8 years ago from Leicester, UK

      @Andromeda10 - I actually like Franci Bacon paintings, if you have a look at his work, he paints dark and evil images really well, yet still keeps the main feel quite light and open.

    • Paula Andrea, MA profile image

      Paula Andrea, MA 8 years ago from www.mode of cosmic therapy.com

      My favorite artist of all time is Willem De Kooning! Thank you for sharing these works. Art says so much about the person who constructs it. I enjoyed seeing these so much.

    • WHoArtNow profile image
      Author

      WHoArtNow 8 years ago from Leicester, UK

      @Paula - Your welcome. I spend all day surrounded by art, nothing worth quite as much as these though!

    • profile image

      Julie Grimes 8 years ago

      I used to be on hub pages. For what it's worth I love this hub. I never knew art could cost so much. $86 mil. Who knew! I guess they are worth it. Thanks-Julie

    • C.S.Alexis profile image

      C.S.Alexis 8 years ago from NW Indiana

      This was a great hub, interesting and informative. Thanks for your research.

    • profile image

      newsworthy 8 years ago

      cool hub to send art lovers to

    • ratcliffe07 profile image

      ratcliffe07 8 years ago

      wow...that's quiet an expensive list. I would love love love to own a Van Gogh painting...It would be amazing to own one!

    • SCL profile image

      SCL 8 years ago from Bristol UK

      Great hub thanks. Will be interesting to see how the current economic climate affects the art world. But I guess if you have enough money to buy one of these then you probably won't be affected by the credit crunch!! LOL

      Personally if I had the dosh I would go for the

      Gustav Klimt - Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer

    • Mike Lickteig profile image

      Mike Lickteig 8 years ago from Lawrence KS USA

      I became an admirer of Picasso only in the last decade or so, and I would love to own Dora Maar au chat.

    • suffering fool profile image

      suffering fool 8 years ago

      I was happily surprised to see no contemporary art here. Like Hirsch or the balloon dog guy or the football player who pretends to do art.

    • Laura Spector profile image

      Laura Spector 8 years ago from Chiang Mai, Thailand

      Fun article! Thanks for writing it! I love that Picasso.

    • maven101 profile image

      maven101 8 years ago from Northern Arizona

      Thanks for the interesting Hub !!!

      I find Van Gogh so interesting, so layered with emotion and unexpected nuance...his portrait of the good Doctor is such an openly personal take on this person with whom he was on such intimate terms...

    • saidarao profile image

      saidarao 7 years ago from visakhapatnam, Andhrapradesh, India

      great paintings but i couldn't understand .......y they are getting famous

    • IslandVoice profile image

      Sylvia Van Velzer 7 years ago from Hawaii

      What can i say, it's art! We let it speak, and if we can't understand, it doesn't change anything about the who and the why of it. I just love art! I enjoyed this list very much.

    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

      DeBorrah K Ogans 7 years ago

      WhoArtNow

      Interesting hub!

      Art is a language in itself!

      How amazing to be able to take a one dimensional surface and create such depth!

      Thank you for sharing!

      Blessings!

    • profile image

      neese 7 years ago

      I just Love Monet,s work It is Just the best to me.

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 7 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Amazing. And to think poor Vincent van Gogh died unrecognized and poor. Funny when you look at paintings in books or online. I could never appreciate Jackson Pollack until I saw one of his paintings in person. I went from a Pollack scoffer to a Pollack lover - it was the most incredible painting!

    • Jackson Riddle profile image

      Jackson Riddle 7 years ago from Melbourne

      I'm simply astounded at the legacies that artists leave in their paintings.

    • nikki1 profile image

      nikki1 7 years ago

      great paintings.

    • RosWebbART profile image

      Ros Webb 7 years ago from Ireland

      I can understanding why these paintings went for so much money ; they are all incredible!!! great hub.

    • profile image

      Ian o 7 years ago

      Interesting list but this has to be put into context. A very small percentage of the world's great art comes onto the art market and not many 'old masters' at all, certainly very few of the really greats. For instance, how much would someone pay for the Mona Lisa? $200million, $500million, a billon?

      It is partly the limited supply of good art that forces up the price for those who can pay (or are silly enough to pay?) Indeed I can't help thinking that a large proporton of modern paintings achieve greatness not through their inate quality but through their astronomical dollar values. Maybe in 500 or 1000 years time some of these 'great' modern paintings will be downrated and given the status they really deserve, interesting yes, but hardly great works.

    • Rafini profile image

      Rafini 7 years ago from Somewhere I can't get away from

      So you mean if I created a painting like No5 1948 I could make some serious money? lol Gee, maybe I can draw after all!

      (btw - that was my favorite)

    • profile image

      oldmaster 6 years ago

      If I have a billion I'll pay double the price for that Willem De Kooning painting just to burn it. It's very ugly the buyer can buy the same painting for just dollar from a kindergarten art school.

    • profile image

      Ian Bonney 6 years ago

      Despite their immense value, theres only about three in that lot i could hang on the wall in my house....and it didn't surprise me in the slightest that monet's bridge painting headed the pack by a large margin. Although its an aquired taste, there is beauty within the ugliness of Pollocks painting.....but the one I really couldn't stand was bacon's Triptych.....that was ghastly!! Still....each to his own.

      P.S.....what happened to Van Gogh's Irises? I thought that was ranked no. 6 at 90 million dollars.

    • profile image

      Rahul Rustogi 6 years ago

      Don't understand Jackson Pollock's work: the painting is not aesthetically pleasing, do not seem to have any apparent meaning - like someone has splashed paint randomly. Rubbish!!

    • profile image

      Amjad khan 6 years ago

      These all are not able to get the top 10 position

    • profile image

      Middle eastern 6 years ago

      Couldn't understand why No. 5 and Woman III were sold for such a high price? there is nothing artistic about them.. splashing ink and basic kindergarden style painting have nothing to do with art..

    • profile image

      John Pilkey 6 years ago

      Abstract and Expressionist art is valuable when it results in tight well-organized compositions like Jasper Johns' False Start. Too many paintings in these traditions are sloppily organized. Despite modern democracy, all good art is essentially aristocratic.

    • profile image

      some dude 5 years ago

      i just dont get it... who would pay that?

    • RichardCMckeown profile image

      RichardCMckeown 5 years ago

      I can't believe that paintings would cost like that. Really amazing.Great hub.I am now informed.

    • profile image

      emma 5 years ago

      hilarious how everyone wants the claude monet. it's really not the most interesting... or beautiful

    • profile image

      Victoria 5 years ago

      I love the cat on Dora's sholuder :)

    • profile image

      natasha grant 5 years ago

      they are AMAZING and wile dear !!!

    • profile image

      kris lecount 5 years ago

      helps me with my fine arts work

    • profile image

      Karoline 5 years ago

      Wow amazing art

    • profile image

      Ron 5 years ago

      Great hub, looking forward to come back and fascinted by your posts. Thank you.

      Ron from http://www.intervalstraining.net

    • profile image

      anas 5 years ago

      nice paintings i can't belive these are hand made paintings

    • profile image

      amit 5 years ago

      its all a nice paintings...

    • profile image

      adjil 5 years ago

      what an amazing abstract art painted by Jackson Pollok!!!!great!!

    • profile image

      wacko 5 years ago

      these paintsing are terrible i draw better !

    • profile image

      johno 5 years ago

      What absolute CRAP!!!

    • profile image

      Saba 5 years ago

      All these pics r tooo good but ,pic#2 is not gud as much as it should be

    • profile image

      Saba 5 years ago

      All these pics r tooo good but ,pic#2 is not gud as much as it should be

    • profile image

      DWayne 5 years ago

      I can paint better than these stupid paintings

    • profile image

      Rigeddon 5 years ago

      This comment goes for the #1 Painting. I wouldn't buy a painting that looks like splatter if it's from a professional painter. I've painted better.

    • profile image

      nareshwar 5 years ago

      contact anareshwara@gmail.com for any type of paintings...

    • profile image

      korbs 5 years ago

      come on get real these are atrocious ick

    • profile image

      zeel 5 years ago

      they forget beauty of money absolut best paintings are stored in many store rooms in whole world

    • SonQuioey10 profile image

      Toni Northern 5 years ago from Williamston NC

      It never ceases to amaze me how paintings can be worth so much money.

      But I understand why they are, they're so beautiful and intriguing. Nice Hub

    • profile image

      mirza 5 years ago

      hey people i would rather say these paintings should b placed in a museum instead of tempting people for spending or the correct word would b "wasting" their hard earned money on this things.. no offence to art lovers but plzz guys give it a thought, the money the buyers spend on these kind of things how many people can send their whole lifes happily,,,"billions of happy smile rather than just urs"

    • profile image

      Jonathan McBane 5 years ago

      In your voting choices you should add a choice for NONE

      this is clearly a case of "the emperors clothing"

    • profile image

      priyanshi 5 years ago

      very very nice painting

    • profile image

      priyanshi 5 years ago

      very very nice paintig by Gustav Klim.You are the best painter in the world.How neet,cleen,and beatiful painting you made.The dress of the women is so so nice and the hat also.The background is so so so so so so sooooooooooooo nice.

    • profile image

      kashish 5 years ago

      Claude Monet your painting looks like a real photo.

    • profile image

      dholu 5 years ago

      very very nice painting

    • profile image

      artist 5 years ago

      Jasper Johns - False Start it's very impressive painting

      these painting are terrible i draw better

    • profile image

      Lololol 5 years ago

      I guess they painted the last one with dinosaur shit for it to be worth that much...

    • profile image

      painter 5 years ago

      its it is art i can also make better art

    • profile image

      manswama 5 years ago

      these paintings are the best examples of great humen imagination if someone can really really understand art

    • profile image

      opeoluwa ogunyakin 5 years ago

      I believe artist sholud able to enjoy there works before death often time artist has been celebrated after life so many died in poverty. lets change these mentallity and appreciate them while alife and after life.

    • profile image

      opeoluwa ogunyakin (CEO) Artminds & Decor 5 years ago

      Art is not a joke or junk is the power of creative minds, so it can not be quantify with just word of mouth it goes beyond that.

    • profile image

      The Emperor 5 years ago

      How do you like my clothes? What! I'm naked? How'd that happen!...but...but.....darn it!

      If you think this is art, then please go see a psychiatrist...you seriously need help, and fast!

    • profile image

      kpkakoma 5 years ago

      ..i appreciate art so much..but still have ages to understand where this beauty comes from..how we come up with great ideas and creativity, only God knows...nice hub by the way, though i must say money can't buy talent..it's priceless..they deserve it..

    • profile image

      mudita 5 years ago

      I LIKED MOST OF THE PAINTING IF I EVER HAD MONEY I WILL BUY THE PORTRAIT OF ADELE BLAUCH BAUER

    • MelChi profile image

      Melanie Chisnall 5 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      You just reminded me of why I enjoyed Art History so much in school. That painting of Jackson Pollock was one of the final pieces I studied - I can't believe it sold for $140 million! Thanks for sharing - voted up and interesting :)

    • profile image

      Melinda Mills 4 years ago

      I am surprised with the selection. All except the Monet and the one by Van Gogh "Dr Gachet" are insipid and childish. I wish they would vote for beautiful art - nothing is wrong with painting beautiful things. I do art and I have studied art history but I am not impressed with the paintings which one has to interpret. God is the best artist and when one goes outside into a garden or a park one does not have to strain his brain, he just admires everything and is refreshed.

    • profile image

      guy bryan 4 years ago

      i have a paintin of the Bauxite Plant that is Linden Guyana, it was painted in the year 1977, the paintin is 17'' by 53''.my email guybryan39@yahoo.com.

    • profile image

      cmh13 4 years ago

      Interesting piece. But someone should have edited it more carefully. Grammar and facts are very sloppy.

    • profile image

      Nitin Patel 4 years ago

      This is not a true list of the most expensive paintings, the first number is The Card Players with the tag of $ 250 million, and if you dont consider the inflation the number one is Mona Lisa with guessed $ 700 million!

    • profile image

      WALTER WEBB 3 years ago

      ALL OF THESE PAINTINGS ARE GREAT. HOWEVER THE PRICE OF MOST EXPENSIVE PAINTINGS VERY ACCORDING TO THE ART RETAILER. IN ESSENCE I WOULD AGREE WITH THIS LISTED AMOUNT AS ONE RESPECTIVE VIEW OF MOST EXPENSIVE ART.

      MY FAVORITE WOULD BE FRENCH IMPRESSIONIST MANET'S

      "180TH BIRTHDAY PAINTING CELEBRATION. IT IS VERY FESTIVE

      AND MARKS A PERIOD OF FRENCH IMPRESSIONISM. AND THEN

      THERE IS THE SOCIAL GALAS WHICH COME WITH CRITIQUE'S OF

      MANET'S MOST EXPENSIVE PAINTING .

    • Romeos Quill profile image

      Romeos Quill 3 years ago from Lincolnshire, England

      I wonder how many of their present ' owners ' are true artists. Claude Monet seemed to have a special touch to his brush. An interesting Hub, and thank you.

      Best Wishes ( if you're still around ).

      R.Q.

    • profile image

      kartick 3 years ago

      All the creations is my own imagination and without any professional guidance.I would like to take your help for my art works as i have no training under any teacher or guru and no method.

      I want to display my artworks among people so that a true lover of art can judge a real value of this.

      hope you will help me. ( my email id kartickmaji@yahoo.com)

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