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Art & Decor Trends

Famous Art with Unreal Price Tags

Klimt - Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer 1, 1907 The American abstract expressionism won the millionaire’s hearts when coming to spending money. In recent years the Impressionist’s predominant control of the art market has been overtaken by the abstract art movement. The following is a run-down of the most expensive paintings ever sold:

The most expensive painting ever sold is said to be Jackson Pollok’s “Number 5, 1948”. It is said that the art work was bought for $140 million at a private sale in 2006, though the exact price was never confirmed. David Greffen sold it to an unknown buyer, whom is rumored to be David Martinez, a Mexican business man.

The second most expensive painting in art history is Willem De Kooning’s “Woman III,” bought for $137.5 million by Steven Cohen. It is the only woman painting by Kooning owned by a private person.

Gustav Klimt’s “Adele Bloch-bauer I” sits in the 3rd place in the top 10 most expensive artworks. The cosmetic magnate, Ronald Lauder bought it for $135 million, at a private sale, in 2006. The painting originally belonged to Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer, but the Nazis confiscated it during World War II. In 1948, after the war, the art work was placed at the National Gallery of Austria.

Picasso - Dora Maar with CatPicasso - Boy with PipePicasso - Nude, Green Leaves and Bust“Nude, Green Leaves and Bust” by Pablo Picasso is worth $106.5 million. The price was paid by an anonymous buyer, at the Christine’s New York auction, in May 2010. This is the biggest price ever paid at an auction.

The “Nude” painting is followed in top 10 most expensive art works by another canvas made by Picasso, “Garcon a la pipe” (Boy with a Pipe). Now it is in the hands of an anonymous buyer who spend on it over $104 million, at the Sotherby’s auction, in May 2004.

Andy Warhol’s “Eight Elvises” completes the rank, on number 6. The painting is worth $100 million and was sold at a private auction in 2008.

Picasso is present again in the ranking to number 7 with “Dora Maar au chat” (Dora Maar with Cat). The painting was sold at the Sotherby’s auction, in May 2006, for $95.2 million.

Titian is the only old master in the rank, with “Diana and Actaeon,” sold at a private sale on February 2009. A buyer from United Kingdom has it now for $91 million.

Sold only a few months later than Klimt’s first version of “Adele,” the second painting was worth $87.9 million.

Francis Bacon closes the rank with “Tryptich 1976.” A European private buyer gave on it $86.3 million, at the Sotherby’s, in May 2008.

Interesting to note that of the top 10 most sold paintings in history, half of them were bought in 2006, just before the financial meltdown of 2008.

Some painters struck gold by selling their artworks. However most died poor.

Da Vinci - Mona LisaVan Gogh - Vase with Fifteen SunflowersIn the list of the top 50 most expensive paintings ever sold, Vincent van Gogh and Pablo Picasso are by far the best represented artists. Picasso became a wealthy man in his illustrious career, while Van Gogh sold only one painting in his lifetime.

The Impressionist painter and renowned collector, Anna Boch, bought her first Van Gogh (“The Red Vineyard”) shortly after his death in 1890. She spent on it 400 Francs ($1600 in today’s values), today it would have the ‘priceless’ tag as most Van Gogh’s do…

“Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers” by Vincent van Gogh was bought for of £24.75 Million on March 1987. The sale was significant because it was the first time that a modern artwork became the record holder, in contrast to the old master paintings.

However, the most expensive painting in art history has not been sold in any auction or private sale. Guinness World Records lists the Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci as having the highest insurance value for a painting in history. It was estimated at $100 million on December 14, 1962. Taking inflation into account, the Mona Lisa would be valued today at around $743 million!

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About the Author

"In order to learn to draw you must learn to see" is the quote that inspired me to seek beauty in life, not only in art. I also may say that life is the best theme in art. I let drawing be only a hobby for me so I would never lose my passion by turning it into an every-day job. That is why I decided to write about art. Cristiana Dumitru lives in Bucharest, Romania, besides art she is also a news presenter on Radio ZU, the national Romanian radio.