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The 30 Most Expensive Paintings Ever Sold (2021)

Have you ever wondered why paintings are so costly? What makes a painting valuable? What is the most ever paid for a painting or whether paintings are still a good investment?  

We have listed the 30 most expensive paintings ever sold that will definitely answer your questions.

The Most expensive paintings

Take a look at these! The list starts at $92 million! 

Cash Tips & Tricks – The 30 Most Expensive Paintings Ever Sold At Auction
#ArtistPaintingPrice realised (in Mio USD)
1Leonardo da VinciSalvator Mundi $ 450
2Willem de KooningInterchange $ 300
3CezanneThe Card Players $ 250
4Paul GauguinNafea Faa Ipoipo (When Will You Marry) $ 210
5Jackson PollockNumber 17A $ 200
6Mark RothkoNo. 6 (Violet, Green, and Red) $ 186
7Gustav KlimtWasserschlangen II $ 183.8
8Rembrandt van RijnPendant portraits of Maerten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppit $ 180
9Pablo PicassoLes Femmes d’Alger (Version “O”) $ 179.3
10Amedeo ModiglianiNu couché $ 170.4
11Gustav KlimtWater Serpents II $ 170
12Roy LichtensteinMasterpiece $ 165
13Amedeo ModiglianiNu couché $ 157
14Pablo PicassoLe Rêve $ 155
15Gustav KlimtPortrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer II $ 150
16Francis Bacon3 studies for portrait Lucian Freud 1969 $ 142.4
17Qi BaishiTwelve Screens of Landscapes $ 141
18Jackson PollockNo. 5, 1948 $ 140
19Willem de KooningWoman III $ 137.5
20Gustav KlimtPortrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I (1907) $ 135
21Edvard MunchThe Scream $ 119.9
22Pablo PicassoFillette à la corbeille fleurie $ 115
23Claude MonetMeules $ 110.7
24Jean-Michel BasquiatUNTITLED $ 110.4
25Pablo PicassoNude, Green Leaves and Bust $ 106.4
26Andy WarholSilver Car Crash (Double Disaster) $ 105.4
27Pablo PicassoGarçon à la Pipe $ 104
28Roy LichtensteinNurse $ 95.3
29Pablo PicassoDora Maar au chat $ 95.2
30Sandro BotticelliPortrait of a young man holding a roundel $ 92.1

1) Salvator Mundi - Leonardo da Vinci

Sold: $450 Mio USD

It is one of fewer than 20 known works by Leonardo, and was the only one to remain in a private collection.

It was sold at auction for $450.3 million on 15 November 2017 by Christie’s in New York to Prince Badr bin Abdullah, setting a new record for most expensive painting ever sold at public auction.

2) Interchange - Willem de Kooning

Sold: $300 Mio USD

Interchange, also known as Interchanged, is an oil on canvas painting by the Dutch-American abstract expressionist painter Willem de Kooning (1904–1997) and was completed in 1955.

It was one of de Kooning’s first abstract landscapes, and marked a change in his style under the influence of fellow artist Franz Kline.

In September 2015, it was sold by the David Geffen Foundation to Kenneth C. Griffin for $300 million, a new mark for highest ever price for a painting, not surpassed until November 2017 by Leonardo Da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi. It has been on loan at the Art Institute of Chicago.

3) The Card Players - Cézanne

Sold: $250 Mio USD
This painting, created at the cusp of the 20th century inspired Cubism and presaged abstract art. The tiny, oil-rich nation of Qatar has purchased the Card Players in 2011 for more than $250 million. The deal, in a single stroke, upends the modern art market.

4) Nafea Faaipoipo - Paul Gauguin

Sold: $210 Mio USD

Paul Gauguin’s 1892 oil painting “Nafea Faa Ipoipo (When Will You Marry)?” was sold for $210 million in 2014.

However, The New York Times and other news outlets reported in 2015 that the painting had been sold by Rudolf Staechelin, a retired Sotheby’s executive, to a Qatari buyer for close to $300 million. If true, that would have been the highest known price for a painting.

5) Number 17A - Jackson Pollock

Sold: $200 Mio USD

Kenneth C. Griffin, founder of Chicago-based hedge fund firm Citadel, paid about $500 million for works by Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning from David Geffen’s foundation in 2015.

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

Sold: $186 Mio USD
Artist: Mark Rothko
Masterpiece: “No. 6 (Violet, Green and Red)” (1951)
Sale date: 2014
Buyer: Dmitry Rybolovlev * * Rybolovlev contested the transaction in legal dispute with art dealer.

7) Wasserschlangen II - Gustav Klimt

Sold: $183 Mio USD
Water Serpents II, also referred to as Wasserschlangen II, is an oil painting made by Gustav Klimt in 1907. It is the follow-up painting to the earlier painting Water Serpents I

8) Pendant portraits of Maerten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppit - Rembrandt

Sold: $180 Mio USD

9) Les Femmes d'Alger (Version "O") - Pablo Picasso

Sold: $179 Mio USD

10) Nu couché - Amedeo Modigliani

Sold: $170 Mio USD

11) Water Serpents II - Gustav Klimt

Sold: $170 Mio USD

12) Masterpiece - Roy Lichtenstein

Sold: $165 Mio USD

13) Nu couché - Amadeo Modigliani

Sold: $157 Mio USD

14) Le Rêve - Pablo Picasso

Sold: $155 Mio USD

15) Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer II - Klimt

Sold: $150 Mio USD

16) 3 Studies for portrait Lucian Freud 1969 - Francis Bacon

Sold: $142 Mio USD

17) Twelve Screens of Landscapes - Qi Baishi

Sold: $141 Mio USD

18) No.5, 1948 - Jackson Pollock

Sold: $140 Mio USD

19) Woman III - Willem de Kooning

Sold: $137.5 Mio USD

20) Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I - Klimt

Sold: $135 Mio USD

21) The Scream - Edvard Munch

Sold: $119.9 Mio USD

22) Fillette à la corbeille fleurie - Pablo Picasso

Sold: $115 Mio USD

23) Meules - Claude Monet

Sold: $110.7 Mio USD

24) UNTITLED - Jean-Michel Basquiat

Sold: $110.4 Mio USD

25) Nude, Green Leaves and Bust - Pablo Picasso

Sold: $106.4 Mio USD

26) Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster) - Andy Warhol

Sold: $105.4 Mio USD

27) Garçon à la Pipe - Pablo Picasso

Sold: $104.1 Mio USD

28) Nurse - Roy Lichtenstein

Sold: $95.3 Mio USD

29) Dora Maar au chat - Picasso

Sold: $95.2 Mio USD

30) Portrait of a young man holding a roundel - Sandro Botticelli

Sold: $92.1 Mio USD

In January 2021, Sotheby’s sold an impeccably preserved painting by the Italian Renaissance artist Sandro Botticelli for $92.1 million a 787% increase from the artist’s previous, 2013 auction record of $10.4 million.  

The Painting, was executed around 1480 and depicts and elegant young man lightly holding a roundel of a saint. For the last 40 years, it had been in possession of the late real estate developer Sheldon Solow, who purchased the work in 1982. Over time, the billionaire slowly donated fractions of the painting to his private foundation; at the time of the sale, his foundation owned at least 99% of the painting, saving the Solow family some $33 million in capital gain taxes.

Solo, who died in November 2020 at 92, purchased the work for $1.3 million, meaning the sale realized an appreciation of about 6,992%.

The Painting is widely considered the finest Botticelli in private hands.

Download the list in Excel or PDF using the Export button.
wdt_ID Count Images Artist Painting Year Price realised (in USD) Auctions Last transaction Source
1 1,00 Leonardo da Vinci Salvator Mundi c. 1500 450.312.500,0 Christie’s 2017 SOURCE
2 1,00 Willem de Kooning Interchange 1955 300.000.000,0 Private sale 2015 SOURCE
3 1,00 Cezanne The Card Players 1893 250.000.000,0 Private sale 2011 SOURCE
4 1,00 Paul Gauguin Nafea Faa Ipoipo (When Will You Marry) 1892 210.000.000,0 Private sale 2014 SOURCE
5 1,00 Jackson Pollock Number 17A 1948 200.000.000,0 Private sale 2015 SOURCE
6 1,00 Gustav Klimt Wasserschlangen II 1907 183.800.000,0 Private sale 2013 SOURCE
7 1,00 Mark Rothko No. 6 (Violet, Green, and Red) 1951 186.000.000,0 Private sale via Yves Bouvier 2014 SOURCE
8 1,00 Rembrandt van Rijn Pendant portraits of Maerten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppit 1634 180.000.000,0 Private sale 2015 SOURCE
9 1,00 Pablo Picasso Les Femmes d’Alger (Version “O”) 1955 179.365.000,0 Christie’s 2015 SOURCE
10 1,00 Amedeo Modigliani Nu couché 1918 170.405.000,0 Christie’s 2015 SOURCE

Mat is the founder of cashtipsandtricks and has been working in the financial sector in Luxembourg for the past 10 years. He brings his insights as an investor and entrepreneur.

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