10 Most Expensive Paintings in the World
Pierre-August Renoir – Le Moulin de la Galette.
At the time of its sale in 1990, it was the second most expensive
painting ever sold. This masterpiece even went to the same person that
bought number one at the time, Daishowa Paper Manufacturing Co.
chairman Ryoei Saito. Again, he wanted this one cremated with him as
well, but his companies ran into financial problems and it had to be
sold on as collateral.
Jasper Johns – False Start.
Another painting formerly owned by Geffen and allegedly sold to CEO of
the Citadel Investment Group, Kenneth C. Griffin, making it the most
expensive painting to be sold by a living artist, the iconic Jasper
Vincent van Gogh – Portrait of Dr. Gachet.
Up for auction in 1990 and purchased by Japanese businessman Ryoei
Saito, this was – at the time- the most expensive painting in the
world. Saito (then 75) caused controversy at the time, stating that
when he died, he’d have the painting cremated along with him. This was
later cleared up as he claimed that he was only using the expression to
show his intense affection for it.
Francis Bacon – Triptych, 1976.
Breaking the previous sale record of his work ($52.68 million), Bacon’s
3-piece masterpiece was sold to Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich,
smashing the previous estimate of $70 million.
Gustav Klimt – Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer II.
The only model to be painted twice by Klimt and sold a few months after
the first version, this portrait of Bloch-Bauer was part of a lot in
2006 of four Klimt paintings that went on to fetch a total of $192
million. Buyer unknown.
5. $95,200,000. Pablo Picasso – Dora Maar au Chat.
Another Picasso, the second highest price ever fetched at auction, and
another anonymous buyer. Auctioned in 2006, a mysterious Russian bidder
took this home (along with a Monet and a Chagall, spending over $100
million) and no one has since found out who he was. The ownership of
the painting has still not been made public.
Pablo Picasso – Garçon à la pipe. So
far the highest price a painting has ever fetched at auction (as the
others were all sold privately), and was the first painting to break
the $100 million barrier (it was sold in 2004, whilst 1-3 were all in
2006). The strange thing is that it was never made public as to who
expressed such an interest in Picasso’s portrait of a smoking Parisian.
Gustav Klimt – Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I.
This was sold by Maria Altmann, who – after a lengthy and complicated
court battle – was deemed rightful owner of this Klimt and several
others. Altmann was named as an inheritor of the painting in the will
of by the widowed husband of the model herself, despite the efforts of
the Austrian State, as Adele Bloch-Bauer had originally left the
painting to the State Gallery in her own will. The painting was bought
by Ronald Lauder for his Neue Galerie in New York, to be the
centerpiece of a collection of Jewish-owned art rescued from the Nazi
looting that took place in the Second World War.
2. $137,500,000. Willem de Kooning – Woman III.
Another painting sold by Geffen in 2006, but this time bought by
billionaire Steven A. Cohen. It is part of a series of 6 painted by de
Kooning in the period of 1951-53, which revolved around the theme of a
woman, and is allegedly the only Woman still in private hands.
Jackson Pollock – No.5, 1948.
It is claimed by the New York Times that this painting was sold by
David Geffen (of Geffen Records), to David Martinez (managing partner
of Fintech Advisory). However, a press release issued on behalf of
Martinez states that he didn’t actually purchase the painting. So the
truth is shrouded in mystery, and it can only be rumored to have sold
for a record-breaking $140 million.