The most expensive artwork in the world

"Version O", Pablo Picasso ($210 million)

You can’t buy talent, of course, but you can buy a work of art. Especially if the account has an extra half a billion dollars. Yes, that’s how much one of the most expensive artworks in the world costs.

Today we will present you with a list of the most expensive artworks ever sold.

Reclining Nude, Amedeo Modigliani ($186 million)

  • original name: Nu Couché;
  • creation date: 1917;
  • dimensions: 60*92 cm;
  • technique: canvas, oil;
  • original price: $170.4 million.

This work was commissioned by the Polish art dealer Leopold Zborowski for a collection of drawings of naked bodies. However, the work of art was exhibited only once at the Galleria Berthe Weill in a scandalous vernissage that ended in a raid by the police. As for the auction, the original price of the work of the Italian master was 100 million dollars. The happy owner, dollar billionaire Liu Yiqian, got it for $170.4.

The buyer deserves a separate introduction. Once a taxi driver, he managed to earn more than a decent fortune and opened several private galleries in Shanghai with his own money.

Portraits of Martin Soulmans and Opian Cockpit by Rembrandt van Rijn ($197 million)

  • original title: “Portrait of Martin Soulmans” and “Portrait of an Opian Cockpit”;
  • creation date: 1634;
  • dimensions: 209*135 cm;
  • technique: canvas, oil;
  • original price: $197 million.

The purchase of this pair of wedding portraits set a new record for the cost of Rembrandt’s work. There was no question of selling the paintings separately because they were always exhibited together. Well, after four centuries, the picturesque couple was still briefly separated. The sellers were the Rothschild dynasty, the buyers were the Rijksmuseum (Amsterdam) and the Louvre (Paris). Today, these 2 most expensive artworks are together again: they are exhibited in turn either in a French or a Dutch museum.

“Version O”, Pablo Picasso ($210 million)

  • original title: Les Femmes D’Alger, “Women of Algeria”;
  • creation date: 1955;
  • dimensions: 114*146 cm;
  • technique: canvas, oi;
  • original price: $179.4 million.

It is said that when creating “Version O” Picasso was inspired by the canvas of no less brilliant Eugene Delacroix “Women of Algeria in their apartment.” The artist made more than 15 versions of the painting until he presented the final version in 1955. The unusual work of Pablo in the recognizable style of “cubism” went under the hammer at the famous auction house Christie’s in 2015.

Since then, it has grown in value by more than $30 million. Despite the fact that the name of the new owner is kept secret, a number of unofficial sources claim that this is the former first minister of Qatar, Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani.

Purple, Green, and Red by Mark Rothko ($217 million)

  • original title: No. 6;
  • creation date: 1951;
  • dimensions: 230*137 cm;
  • technique: oil, canvas;
  • original price: $186 million.

The author of another expensive painting is an American artist of Lithuanian origin Mark Rothko, who works in the abstract genre. The sale of “Purple, Green, and Red” set a new record for the cost of the master’s work. No. 6 is Mark Rothko`s most expensive painting.

Alas, the purchase ended in a scandal. The new owner, Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, sued the art dealer, accusing the expert of inflating the value of the artwork.

Water Serpents II, Gustav Klimt ($222 million)

  • original name: “Wasser Schlangen II”;
  • creation date: 1904-1907;
  • dimensions: 80*145 cm;
  • technique: canvas, oil;
  • original price: $222 million.

This magnificent work by Gustav Klimt continues the theme started in an earlier painting, Water Serpents I. The author indulges in sensual discussions about the beauty of the female body and relationships between representatives of the same sex. The beautiful painting was captured during the Second World War by Nazi troops, and in 2013 it was sold at auction. “Wasser Schlangen II” is one of the most expensive artworks of all time.

Number 17A, Jackson Pollock ($233 million)

  • original name: “Number 17A”;
  • creation date: 1948;
  • dimensions: 112*86 cm;
  • technique: oil, fibreboard;
  • original price: $200 million.

Here we see the trends of both expressionism and abstractionism. Its next unique feature is drip painting. “Number 17 A” helped its author launch a career as an artist after the work was on the cover of Life in 1949. The painting’s previous owner, David Geffen, sold the piece to investor Kenneth S. Griffin for $200 million. A new buyer donated the artwork to the Art Institute of Chicago.

When Will You Marry? by Paul Gauguin ($247 million)

  • original title: “Nafea Faa Ipoipo?”;
  • creation date: 1892;
  • dimensions: 101*77 cm;
  • technique: oil, canvas;
  • original price: $210 million.

The post-impressionist artist traveled to Tahiti in 1891 and fell in love with the island and its beautiful women forever. Inspired by the Tahitians, Paul Gauguin created the famous “Nafea Faa Ipoipo?” a year later, depicting two girls against a blue and gold landscape. At the time of sale in 2015, this work competed for the title of one of the most expensive artworks in the world with Willem de Kooning’s Denouement. Buyer’s name “When will you get married?” was not disclosed, however, art experts believe that the canvas was acquired by the Qatari royal family.


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