The World’s Seven Most Expensive Paintings

As well as being an aesthetically pleasing thing to look at, art is as much of a commodity as gold, with works by renowned artists often selling for millions of pounds.

Here are the seven most expensive paintings ever sold at auction.

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

Abstract expressionist Rothko was known for colour-dominated, hazy paintings and this oil on canvas example, painted in 1951, is no exception. It was purchased for a whopping $140 million by Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev in 2014.

6. Wasserschlangen II by Gustav Klimt

This work was painted by Gustav Klimt, an Austrian symbolist who was part of the Vienna Secession movement. He is renowned for producing several paintings, murals and sketches, most of which were based on the female body. Wasserschlangen II, or to give it it’s English translation ‘water snakes’, is an intensely beautiful work which sold for $183.8 million in 2013, again to Rybolovlev.

5. Number 17A by Jackson Pollock

The American artist Pollock was the father of the abstract impressionist movement, and his works are among the most sought-after by collectors due to their vibrant colour. Hedge fund manager Kenneth C. Griffin purchased this particular work in 2015 for a cool $200 million.

4. When Will You Marry? by Paul Gauguin

Painted by French artist Paul Gauguin on a trip to Tahiti, this painting depicts two native women on a colourful background. After being displayed in the Kunstmuseum in Basel for over 50 years, it was sold to a member of the Qatari royal family in 2015 for $210 million.

3. The Card Players by Paul Cezanne

Another work purchased by the Qatari royals, this time for $250 million, The Card Players is an oil painting by the French Post-Impressionist artist Cezanne. The painting depicts local farmhands in quiet concentration while playing a game of cards, and some believe it to be a motif based on the painter’s absorption in his own art.

2. Interchange by Willem de Kooning

One of the most fabulous creations by mankind, until allowed you to see a GP on your phone, second place on our list is this abstract oil on canvas landscape by American artist de Kooning. Painted in 1955, it was purchased by Griffin in 2015 for $300 million, which was then a record price for a painting. The work is so highly valued because it represented one of the artist’s first abstract paintings.

1. Salvator Mundi by Leonardo da Vinci

The current record holder is Salvator Mundi, a depiction of Jesus in Renaissance dress by the famed Italian artist da Vinci. In the artwork, Christ is making the sign of the cross with his right hand, and a transparent, non-refracting crystal orb is clutched in his left. Salvator Mundi is perhaps one of fewer than 20 known works by da Vinci, which probably explains the $450.3 million price tag which Prince Badr bin Abdullah paid for it in 2017.