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How much is Art worth? While many of us consider paitings by great artists to be priceless, there were actually sold with a hefty price tag. Royalty, famous musisians and even anomimous weathy families have spent millions for their own piece of history. Here are the world’s most expensive paintings ever sold.
The Scream ($121.4 Million)
Edvard Munch painted The Scream in 1895 using Oil, tempera, and pastel on cardboard. This masterpiece was sold to Leon Black on May 2, 2012 by $119.9 Million.
The original German title given to the work by Munch is Der Schrei der Natur (“The Scream of Nature”). In regard to inspiration, Munch quotes: “One evening I was walking along a path, the city was on one side and the fjord below. I felt tired and ill. I stopped and looked out over the fjord—the sun was setting, and the clouds turning blood red. I sensed a scream passing through nature; it seemed to me that I heard the scream. I painted this picture, painted the clouds as actual blood. The color shrieked. This became The Scream.” The painting had been the target of several high-profile art thefts.
Garçon à la pipe ($128.2 Million)
Picasso’s Garçon à la pipe shows a Parisian boy holding a pipe in his left hand and wearing a garland or wreath of flowers. Many art critics have stated that the painting’s high sale price has much more to do with the artist’s name than with the merit or historical importance of the painting.
Painted by Pablo Picasso in 1905, the painting was sold on May 4, 2004 by $128.2 Million (Adjusted Price Today)
Bal du moulin de la Galette ($140.7 Million)
Bal du moulin de la Galette is a typically Impressionist snapshot of real life. It shows a richness of form, a fluidity of brush stroke, and a flickering light. Property of the French Republic after the death of Gustave Caillebotte, the paiting was in exhibition in Paris in Musée du Luxembourg, Musée du Louvre and Musée d’Orsay.
Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s oil on Canvas Bal du Moulin de La Galette was sold in May 17, 1990 to Ryoei Saito by $140.7 Million (Adjusted Price Today).
Portrait of Dr. Gachet ($148.6 Million)
This painting depicts Dr. Paul Gachet, who took care of Van Gogh during the final months of his life.There are two authenticated versions of the portrait, both painted in June 1890 at Auvers. Both show Doctor Gachet sitting at a table and leaning his head on his right arm, but they are easily differentiated in color and style.
Painted in 1890 by Vincent Van Gogh, it was sold to Ryoei Saito on May 15, 1990 by $148.6 Million (Adjusted Price Today). After Saito’s dead in 1996, the location and ownership of the Portrait of Dr. Gachet is unknown. It is said the painting was sold in 1997 to Wolfgang Flöttl. Flöttl, in turn, had reportedly been forced by financial reversals to sell the painting to parties as yet unknown.
Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer ($154.9 Million)
Gustav Klimt took three years to complete the painting. It measures 54″ x 54″ [138 x 138 cm] and is made of oil and gold on canvas, showing elaborate and complex ornamentation as seen in the Jugendstil style. Commissioned by Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer (Adele’s husband), the painting was supposed to be donated to the Austrian State Gallery upon his death, by Adele’s wish. When the Nazis took over Austria, his property, including the Klimt paintings, was confiscated.
After being returned to Ferdinand’s familly, the painting was sold to Ronald Lauder of the Neue Galerie in New York on June 18, 2006 by $154.9 Million (Adjusted Price Today)
Le Rêve ($155 Million)
Another Picasso’s masterpiece, Le Rêve (French, “The Dream”) is a oil painting (130 × 97 cm) portraying his 22-year-old mistress Marie-Thérèse Walter (he was 50 then). It is said to have been painted in one afternoon, on 24 January 1932. The erotic content of the painting has been noted repeatedly, with critics pointing out that Picasso painted an erect penis, presumably symbolizing his own, in the upturned face of his model.
Le Rêve was sold on March 26, 2013 to Steven A. Cohen by $155 Million.
Woman III ($158.8 Million)
Woman III is one of a series of six paintings by Willem de Kooning done between 1951 and 1953. It measures 68 by 48 1⁄2 inches (1.7 by 1.23 m). Part of Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art collection, the painting could not be shown because of strict rules set by the government about the visual arts and what they depict.
This is another painting in the avid art collector Steven A. Cohen. He bought it on November 18, 2006 by $158.8 Million (Adjusted Price Today)
No. 5, 1948 ($161.7 Million)
The painting was done on an 8′ × 4′ sheet of fiberboard, with thick amounts of brown and yellow paint drizzled on top of it, forming a nest-like appearance.
Done by Jackson Pollock in 1948, the painting was sold on November 2, 2006 by $161.7 Million (Adjusted Price Today).
The Card Players (app. $259 Million)
The Card Players is a series of oil paintings by the French Post-Impressionist artist Paul Cézanne. Painted during Cézanne’s final period in the early 1890s, there are five paintings in the series. It is considered to be a cornerstone of Cézanne’s art during the early-to-mid 1890s period, as well as a “prelude” to his final years, when he painted some of his most iconic creations.
The Royal Family of Qatar bough one paiting from the Card Players series in April 2011. The exact price of The Card Players (even the currency of sale) is not known, with estimates from $259 million to even $320 million.
Source: Design Museum