10 Most Expensive Paintings in the World (2016)

Beautiful artworks aren’t just eye candy; they are food for the senses. There are paintings that are worth a million dollars. But there are some that can go several hundred millions’ worth. Are you interested in knowing which paintings are worth an entire estate’s second mortgage? Read on.

10. Woman III by Willem de Kooning

Inflation-adjusted value: $161.4 million

10. Woman III by Willem de Kooning

This painting that measures 68 inches x 48.5 inches has a woman as its central theme. Created in 1953, this painting by Dutch abstract expressionist painter Willem de Kooning is an oil-on-canvas masterpiece. Back then, paintings that depict even a mild sense of vulgarity were strictly regulated by the government. This painting was secretly traded to David Geffen by Thomas Ammann Fine Art in 1994. It was eventually sold to Steven A. Cohen for $137.5 million in 2006. This masterpiece is just one of the many expensive paintings created by Willem de Kooning.

9. No. 5 (1948) by Jackson Pollock

Inflation-adjusted value: $164.3 million

No. 5 (1948) by Jackson Pollock

American painter Jackson Pollock created this huge 8 feet x 4 feet abstract expressionist painting in 1948, and it was sold for $140 million in 2006.  The transaction was between David Geffen and David Martinez through Sotheby’s Tobias Meyer. It was believed that this painting will still increase in value over time, just like the very few Jackson Pollock masterpieces that were still privately owned. This Pollock masterpiece was created on a composition board, which is also known as fibreboard, using liquid paints.

8. Nu Couche by Amedeo Modigliani

Inflation-adjusted value: $170.4 million

Nu Couche by Amedeo Modigliani

This Amedeo Modigliani masterpiece is a 1917 creation. Painted using oil on canvas, the artwork is measured at 24 inches x 36 inches. This painting was recently sold for $170,405,000 through Christie’s. Purchased by Chinese businessman Liu Yiqian, this painting is one of the most famous pieces in the nude series Modigliani has created. It is also his widely reproduced and exhibited paintings. “Nu Couche” is translated as Red Nude or Reclining Nude in the English language. This painting figured well in Modigliani’s first and only art exhibit at the Galerie Berthe Weill in 1917.

7. Les Femmes d’Alger (Version O) by Pablo Picasso

Inflation-adjusted value: $179.4 million

Les Femmes d’Alger (Version O) by Pablo Picasso

This masterpiece by Pablo Picasso was created in 1955. It is one of the 15 paintings that he created as a tribute to Eugene Delacroix, more particularly to his Femmes d’Alger dans leur appartement artwork. This painting came in different versions, but the most expensive one is the “O” version. It was sold to Hamad bin Jassim  bin Jaber Al Thani of Doha, Qatar through Christie’s New York. The four other versions were kept by the original owners, Victor and Sally Ganz.  The rest were in the possession of the Saidenberg Gallery. The Les Femmes d’ Alger or simply, “Women of Algiers” is an oil-on-canvas painting that measures 45 inches x 57.6 inches.

6. Pendant portraits of OopjenCoppit and MaertenSoolmans by Rembrandt

Inflation-adjusted value: $180 million

Pendant portraits of OopjenCoppit and MaertenSoolmans by Rembrandt

This Rembrandt masterpiece was formerly owned by the Rothschild family. Because the painting was sold at a hefty sum of $160 million, the Louvre and the Rijskmuseum split the amount in order to purchase it. They rightly became the joint owners of the painting.  This oil-on-canvas painting stands 82 inches x 53 inches tall. This Renaissance painting was created in 1634.

5. No. 6 (Violet, Green and Red) by Mark Rothko

Inflation-adjusted value: $186 million

No. 6 (Violet, Green and Red) by Mark Rothko

This artwork is another abstract expressionist painting, this time created by Russian-American painter Mark Rothko in 1951. Its 2014 sale was for the amount of Euros 140 million, through a private sale. Dmitry Rybolovlev bought this oil-on-canvas painting through Yves Bouvier. It now sits in his private collection. This painting is comprised of violet, green, and red colors, made distinct by their uneven and hazy shades.

4. Number 17A by Jackson Pollock

Inflation-adjusted value: $200 million

Number 17A by Jackson Pollock

Jackson Pollock, who is fond of assigning numbers as the name of his paintings, scored another success with Number 17A. This artwork is also an abstract expression, a movement that he is a master of. This painting was sold to Kenneth Griffin by the David Geffen Foundation for an astounding price of $200 million.

3. The Card Players by Paul Cezanne

Inflation-adjusted value: $272 million

The Card Players by Paul Cezanne

Frenchman Paul Cezanne is a seasoned post-impressionist painter of the 19th century. This artwork was created from 1894 to 1895. This very expensive painting is one in a series of five artworks. It was sold to the Royal Family of Qatar. The actual price is never made public, but the estimated value is between $250 million and $300 million. The other paintings in this series were owned by Musée d’Orsay in Paris and Courtauld Institute of Art in London. The others were in a private collection.

2. NafeaFaaIpoipo by Paul Gauguin

Inflation-adjusted value: $300 million

NafeaFaaIpoipo by Paul Gauguin

Paul Gauguin is a French post-impressionist who created this painting with a Tahitian name. Translated as “When Will You Marry?”, this painting was on loan to Switzerland’s Kuntsmuseum in Basel for almost half a century.  It was only recently sold to Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad Al-Thani by the family of Rudolf Staechelin. The amount of sale was believed to be nearly $300 million.

1. Interchange by Willem de Kooning

Inflation-adjusted value: $300 million

Interchange by Willem de Kooning

This huge painting by Willem de Kooning is currently the most expensive artwork sold as of date. With an asking price of $300 million, the abstract painting “Interchange” was sold by the David Geffen Foundation to billionaire investor Kenneth C. Griffin. This 79 inches x 69 inches painting was created in 1955 and was recently sold in 2015. Prior to the sale, it has been on loan at the Art Institute of Chicago.

These are the ten most expensive paintings of 2016, and their values didn’t fall under $150 million. Great artists from all over the world have amassed million dollars’ worth of admiration from art followers who won’t mind shelling out a large sum of money to acquire a masterpiece. This is supposed to inspire each one of us to bring out our artistic talents from within. They dynamic and creative world of painting is such a vibrant, colorful place to be.

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