Canvas of Fortune: 7 Most Expensive Paintings In The World

June 20, 2024
6 mins read
Most expensive paintings in the world

Do you know the significance of the most expensive paintings in the world? If not, we have curated a list of the seven most expensive paintings in the world for you and everything you need to know about them. Each one of them carries a rich history that is valued and an auction value that is even more.

Along with the history and significance of these paintings, we have made sure to add the value of each of these paintings. Here are the five most expensive paintings in the world ranked according to their price.

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7 Most Expensive Paintings In The World

The Card Players (5th Version) by Paul Cezanne

The card Players painting was made by Paul Cezanne, who used unique invisible brush strokes and a vivid colour ballot. His expressive style of work was considered to be one of a kind. His unique style was one of the reasons that he was believed to be the most influential figure in artist in the history of modern art. This painting isn’t alone, as it consists of a series of five paintings that were made by him during the 1890s.

Each one of these pieces depicts a number of male figures that are seated at a table and have a couple of cards in their hands. It is believed that even though it was Cameron’s popular work in the 17th century and specifically visible in paintings, the nature of these paintings and the atmosphere can be described as far from chaos. The fifth version of this painting has two figures only and was known to be sold in 2011 at the value of $328 million, it was The Card Players (5th Version) by Paul Cezanne itself.

Salvator Mundi by Leonardo da Vinci Most expensive paintings in the world

This painting has been marked as a quintessential one by Leonardo da Vinci. The legacy of this painting is spread across both hearts and signs. The painter himself needs to be introduced due to his other iconic work, Mona, which has an estimated value of $475 million. Other than that, the most expensive painting ever sold was also believed to be made by him only.

When talking about this painting depicts Christ in a blue rope and holding a transparent crystal orb in one of his hands. It is believed that the painting represents the celestial share of the heavens. It is believed that the original painting was lost or destroyed a long time ago, but as his painting was found in 2005, it is considered a copy due to the sheer amount of overpainting.

As soon as it was put under the registration, professionals shared certain evidence that made them believe that this was one. Soon, it was subsequently authentically for some time. It was doubted by the locals, but the authenticity and mystery of the paintings kept it as one of the most expensive paintings in the world. More overhead dropped the record as the most expensive painting that was sold in 2017, as it carried a purchase value of $475.4 million.

Number 17 A by Jackson Pollock

Number 17 A is an oil on a fibreboard and a glass example of a drip painting. The price of this painting was approximately $200 million, and it was sold in September 2015. It was painted approximately one year after Jackson Pollock introduced the famous technique. It is believed that the abundance of it creates a complex, unique colour vortex, and due to this complex scenario, the top and the bottom layers are often difficult to differentiate.

In this painting, one can notice the smudges of multiple colours, such as blue, yellow, and black, and beautiful fibres that help soften the image more. But perhaps your intentions in this painting are the three nearly parallel white strokes that instantly captured your attention.

It is believed that the dripping things that were made by polo were first met with great public back when they were mostly unpopular and had a rather low value in the art market. With the advent of his artwork later, this masterpiece was featured in 1949 in a Life magazine article, which later helped him gain fame.

The No. 6 by Mark Rothko

The No. 6 by Mark Rothko (violet, green, and red) was a unique painting that was completed in 1951. It uses bright tones throughout the canvas and was created by the well-known artist Rothko, out of all his paintings. This particular one achieved one of the highest sales prices at an auction among all his works. When talking about this painting, one could find three main bands of colour that are blended beautifully with an arrow line of green sitting in between the two different colours, violet and red.

It has been a topic of debate among photographers that the colour of the wall in this painting seems rather like a blue tone. The style of painting can be seen customarily in Rothko’s paintings, with three different areas of colours that are softened around the edges with some parts that are still visible in the background. It is believed that the price of this painting was high when it was changing in the hands of two different private collectors.

At last, it was auctioned in August 2014 at a price of $186 million. In the 20th century, modern artists believed this painting was an excellent investment opportunity and a truly global phenomenon that many have come to appreciate as this painting carries Rothko’s signature approach. It is believed that the artist would often depict his own mood and happenings through the colours of the paintings that he put on display.

When will you marry? Painting by Paul Gaugun

It is a beautiful painting by the French painter Paul Gauguin. he is known to be one of the post-impressionists who arrived in Tahiti in 1890 and was determined to renew his art by diving into what he believed to be a culture unsullied by Western mores. In the painting, one could see a younger woman in a traditional dress that stretches forward to the ground and is looking backwards; she is partially obscuring.

Along with her, there is one more figure in a Western dress style who raises her hand in a gesture of significance. It is believed the flower that could be seen in one of the girl’s ears is known to be a traditional Tahitian symbol, which signifies the availability of noble women for marriage. Another thing one might notice is that at the foot of the image, there is an inscription written in Tahitian that says “NAFA Faa ipoipo”, which translates to “When will you marry?”. 

The beauty of the painting can be seen from top to bottom; the Women seem to blend perfectly with the landscape in the background and appear as beautiful as flowers that are rising from green and yellow grass. At last, it was believed that the painter found the inspiration and painted the picture when he was on his first visit to the island, and since then, this painting could be seen as a phenomenal display of the freedom of imagination and expressions that he could find there. It was priced as $229 million.

Pendant Potrairs of Maerten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppit

The next one on the list of the most expensive paintings in the world is also known as one of the most important masterpieces in art history. It was also considered one of the most important old masters, which is a label that is reserved for Europe’s most elite and prolific 319-century group of painters. The artist is best known for his group portraits, which are his signature artwork. His most popular one was The Night, and also his lifelong series of self-portraits. He was often seen creating numerous other portraits within this span of his lifetime.

Among all those paintings, one was the pair of paintings that came to be known as Pendant Potrairs of Maerten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppit. It is believed that these pieces were later commissioned as wedding portraits for two different objects, each one of them in length. This painting carried a price of $80 million and was purchased by Riksmuseum and the Louvre in 2016.

Wasserschlangen II by Gustav Klimt

This painting of water serpents carries a clean of sensual Women’s water in two different works, known as Water Serpents One and Water Serpents Two. This one of the most expensive paintings in the world carries a value of $204 million and was sold in 2013. When retaining about these two paintings, Water Serpent, one isn’t an oil painting, but rather is tail, and carries unusual clothing in certain parts.

Even though it does not differ much from the preliminary drawings that he used to take for references, there is still an addition of the gold paint and gold thread that is seen to be tangled around women’s bodies, which makes it unique and different from the usual. This picture was also the same due to its unusual lesbian embrace of his models.

However, with time, by redeeming this work and giving it a different thing, and due to the addition of a serpent behind those bodies that were drawn on these surfaces with paint of cold and patterns, this painting was on top of the show without the fear of any kind of censorship or opposition. However, it could be in his painting that he started portraying lesbians much more openly, but this masterpiece managed to be on the top of the list without being censored.


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A 21-year-old Delhiite pursuing her Master's in Sociology from Dr B.R. Ambedkar University, Delhi. She aims to become a Sociologist and stays immersed in the world of ideas and curiosity. She is passionate about reading, writing, cooking, and continuous learning. She is also an avid animal lover at heart. Strongly believes and follows this quote by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who says, “I am a strong believer in the ability of human beings to change for the better. I am a strong believer in trying to change what we are dissatisfied with.”

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