HomeCreative10 Most Expensive Paintings in the World

10 Most Expensive Paintings in the World

The majority of the world’s most well known and famous paintings are housed for
all to see in museums like the Louvre, the Met or the Tate, and as such, are quite
literally priceless. The Mona Lisa, for example, lives at the Louvre in Paris and will
likely remain there for all eternity. If one were to put a price tag on her, however,
she would ring in at around $768 million by today’s standards.

For those endowed with substantial cash flow, not all such works are unattainable.
Although the world as a whole has experienced an economic decline in recent
years, the fine art market has held steadfastly. Auction houses such as Christie’s and
Sotheby’s have experienced record-breaking sales as of late, and it’s not difficult to
understand why.

Below is a list of the ten most expensive paintings sold to date to private buyers.
Please note, the list is ordered by inflation-adjusted values*, though the original sale
prices are listed as well.

10. Portrait of Joseph Roulin

Painting: “Portrait of Joseph Roulin”
Artist: Vincent Van Gogh
Year Created: 1889
Original Sale Price: $58 million + exchange of works
Adjusted*: $110+ million
Date: August 1, 1989
Location: Private Sale via Thomas Ammann, Fine Art Zurich

 

9. Nude, Green Leaves, and Bust

Painting: “Nude, Green Leaves and Bust”
Artist: Pablo Picasso
Year Created: 1932
Original Sale Price: $106.5 million
Adjusted*: $118.2 million
Date: May 4, 2012
Location: Christie’s, New York

 

8. The Scream

Painting: “The Scream”
Artist: Edvard Munch
Year Created: 1895
Original Sale Price: $119.9 million
Adjusted*: $120.7 million
Date: May 2, 2012
Location: Sotheby’s, New York

 

7. Garcon a la pipe

Painting: “Garcon a la pipe”
Artist: Pablo Picasso
Year Created: 1905
Original Sale Price: $104.2 million
Adjusted*: $127.5 million
Date: May 4, 2004
Location: Sotheby’s, New York

 

6. Bal du moulin de la Galette

Painting: “Bal du moulin de la Galette”
Artist: Pierre-Auguste Renoir
Year Created: 1876
Original Sale Price: $78.1 million
Adjusted*: $139.9 million
Date: May 17, 1990
Location: Sotheby’s, New York

 

5. Portrait of Dr. Gachet

Painting: “Portrait of Dr. Gachet”
Artist: Vincent Van Gogh
Year Created: 1890
Original Sale Price: $82.5 million
Adjusted*: $147.8 million
Date: May 15, 1990
Location: Christie’s, New York

 

4. Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer 1

Painting: “Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I”
Artist: Gustav Klimt
Year Created: 1907
Original Sale Price: $135.0 million
Adjusted*: $154.0 million
Date: June 18, 2006
Location: Private Sale via Christie’s

 

3. Woman III

Painting: “Woman III”
Artist: Willem de Kooning
Year Created: 1953
Original Sale Price: $137.5 million
Adjusted*: $157.9 million
Date: November 18, 2006
Location: Private Sale via Larry Gagosian

 

2. No. 5, 1948

Painting: “No. 5, 1948”
Artist: Jackson Pollock
Year Created: 1948
Original Sale Price: $140 million
Adjusted*: $160.8 million
Date: November 2, 2006
Location: Private Sale via Sotheby’s

 

1. The Card Players

Painting: “The Card Players”
Artist: Paul Cezanne
Year Created: 1892/93
Original Sale Price: $259 million
Adjusted*: $267 million
Date: April 2011
Location: Private Sale

 

About the author: Rebecca Lindegren is the community manager for the Master of International Relations program at American University. She is also the news editor for The Word is Bond, an underground hip hop blog. In addition to higher education and art, she is also passionate about cooking, cycling and sustainable development. 

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