Paintings are the preferred medium of expression of some artists. Their works may be interpreted differently by others who see it but there’s no denying that using different colours of paint can be effective in mirroring the mood of the painter or the message they are trying to send.
There are painters who haven’t just become popular in the art community but also became familiar names among ordinary people. In fact, some of their paintings have become so highly valued that they become the centrepieces of art collections. Here are five of the world’s most expensive paintings to date:
Number 17A by Jackson Pollock
This painting is an abstract expressionist type of artwork that uses Jackson Pollock’s drip painting technique. Number 17A came into existence when Pollock poured paint straight from its can to a canvas laid on the floor. This technique gained popularity in 1949 when Pollock’s work was featured in a Life Magazine article.
Number 17A was purchased in 2015 by Kenneth C. Griffin, a hedge fund manager, for $200 million.
Nafea Faa Ipoipo by Paul Gauguin
The title of this painting means ‘When will you marry?’. The painting shows Gauguin’s experience in Tahiti where the women were either dressed in traditional clothes or in Western-style clothing, just like their colonisers. The painting was initially marketed under the impression that Tahitians love to sing and look for love due to its title.
Nafea Faa Ipoipo was sold to Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad Al-Thani for around $210 million.
The Card Players by Paul Cézanne
The Card Players is a series of paintings featuring a group of men gathered on a table playing cards. X-ray scans of the paintings indicate the men depicted in the series have been inspired by preparatory sketches done by Cézanne in his study. Some of the paintings in this series are displayed in the Courtauld Institute of Art in London while a replica is in the Musée d’Orsay in Paris.
It was reported that the Royal Family of Qatar purchased one of the paintings in the series for somewhere between $250 million and $320 million.
Interchange by Willem de Kooning
Interchange is another abstract expression and was named in reference to the neighbourhood in New York City he used to live in. It is believed Willem de Kooning used gentle brush strokes to transition the subject of his works from women to urban landscapes. However, Interchange could also depict a seated woman due to the fleshy pink colouration at the centre.
The painting was also bought by hedge fund manager Kenneth C. Griffin for $300 million.
Salvator Mundi by Leonardo da Vinci
This painting was widely disputed by art historians as nobody really knows whether the original painting was done entirely by Leonardo da Vinci or he just contributed some parts to the work. The title is Latin for ‘Saviour of the World’ and depicts Jesus Christ wearing blue clothing and holding a transparent orb.
Salvator Mundi was sold at an auction to Prince Badr bin Abdullah for $450.3 million. It was previously reported that the painting was bought on behalf of Abu Dhabi’s Department of Culture and Tourism but there were also rumours that the prince was a stand-in bidder for Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Paintings are more than just decorations or pieces of a collection. The paintings on this list serve as the legacy of some historical figures in the art community, which is why their current value is already eye-watering. Meanwhile, if you are interested in browsing more paintings of a different calibre, feel free to visit Our Gallery.