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5 Most Expensive Paintings in the World

Not everyone has objective knowledge of the world of art, but most people know what they like and don’t like. Some like almost photorealistic portraits and landscapes, while others like abstract images that are open to interpretation. For certain art collectors, the picture itself matters little. Rather, what is important is the name and prestige of the artist or the rarity of the work.

It is easy to understand the appeal of owning something that is not only beautiful but original and unique. Art collectors can experience this by purchasing handmade paintings online or from buying at an auction. People who know what they like and can afford it sometimes pay previously unheard of prices for original paintings. Here are five of the most expensive paintings ever sold.

5. Jackson Pollock’s “Number 17A”

Abstract Expressionism is a style of painting that developed in New York City after World War II. It places a particular emphasis on automatic, subconscious creation. Artist Jackson Pollock would simply place his canvas onto the floor and drip paint onto it. His painting “Number 17A” was sold for $200 million in 2015.

4. Paul Gauguin’s “Nafea Faa Ipoipo”

French artist Paul Gauguin traveled in Tahiti in the early 1890s. Taking inspiration from the people who lived there, he painted this vibrant painting of two pensive-looking women in traditional dress. This painting sold for approximately $300 million in 2014. The title means “When will you marry?”

3. Paul Cezanne’s “The Card Players”

Cezanne’s Post-Impressionist style bridges the gap between the Cubism of the 20th century made famous by Picasso and the Impressionism of the 19th century perfected by Monet. “The Card Players” is actually one of four paintings that bear the name. It sold in 2011 for an approximate price of $250 million to $300 million.

2. Willem de Kooning’s “Interchange”

An abstract landscape may seem like a contradiction, and it was until de Kooning came on the scene and started painting pictures like “Interchange,” which was completed in 1955 and sometimes goes by the name “Interchanged” for reasons that are not clear. Regardless of what name it goes by, it sold at auction for $300 million in 2015.

1. Leonardo da Vinci’s “Salvator Mundi”

Translating to “Savior of the World,” this painting depicts Jesus Christ holding a crystal orb in one hand and making a gesture of blessing with the other. Despite doubts about whether it was truly the work of Leonardo da Vinci or one of his students, it sold in 2017 for $450 million, setting a new record as the most expensive painting ever. Ironically, in 1958 it sold for only $60, still a modest sum even when adjusted for inflation, due to questions about its provenance.


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