The Top Five Most Expensive Paintings in the World

It’s funny how old paintings garner staggering amounts when the gavel drops. Prices go well into the nine-digits, making them accessible only to hedge fund owners and billionaires. Unfortunately, the majority of us have to settle for pictures or controlled viewing in museums and private art galleries.


With that out of the way, let’s explore the most expensive artwork around the world.


Salvator Mundi – Leonardo da Vinci – $450.3 Million

Salvator Mundi sold at a whopping $450.3 million on November 15, 2017. That makes it one of the most expensive paintings to ever sell at an auction anywhere in the world. It also showed how much appetite the market has for Leonardo’s work. The final price exceeded auction expectations by a considerable margin.


The painting shows Jesus Christ holding a crystal orb, and the level of detail rivals that of a camera. That explains why the picture was recognized by King Louise XII of France.


Shortly after that, it disappeared from public records for a long time. But British art dealers found it between 1763 and 1900. They spent six years reconstructing the piece before announcing it was a da Vinci original.


This painting is now in Saudi Arabia after Prince Mohammed bin Salman bought it on behalf of the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism.


Interchange – Willem de Kooning – $300 Million

Interchange is one of the most expensive abstracts in the world. With a price tag of $300 million, this painting is expected to appreciate in value as it continues to sit in the Art Institute of Chicago. According to Kooning, the piece was inspired by his surroundings while living in NYC. And it ended up commanding the highest price tag ever paid in a private sale.


The Interchange is in the possession of Kenneth C Griffin, who combined this with his Number 17A purchase.


The Card Players – Paul Cezanne – $250 Million

The Card Players is a series of oil paintings by the French artist Paul Cezanne. The pictures vary in size, game setting, and the number of players in the frame. But there’s one that stood out from the crowd; it features two men enjoying a game of cards, sitting in the corner of the room.


While The Card Players wasn’t the only work Paul had done, it remains the best and most celebrated work from the artist. Most people like to think of them as a “prelude” of his final years when he painted his best pieces.


The most famous version of The Card Players was sold to the Royal Family of Qatar for $250 million in 2011.


Nafea Faa Ipoipo (When Will You Marry?) – Paul Gauguin – $210 Million

This beautiful piece of art was Paul Gauguin’s way of expressing his love affair with Tahiti and its women. He painted this piece in 1892, depicting two beautiful women sitting in a breathtaking natural landscape. This artwork sold at a private auction for $210 million, but the buyer is not confirmed. However, rumors have it that it is in the possession of the Royal Family of Qatar.


Number 17A  – Jackson Pallock – $200 Million

This painting is a beautiful abstract with several colors and a story to tell. It is one of Jackson Pollock’s best works and was bought by billionaire Kenneth C Griffin in 2015 for $200 million. Pollock is famous for his many contributions to the abstract expressionist movement. But only this one made it to the most expensive paintings list.


Unfortunately, Number 17A is not on public display, but you can see more artwork from the celebrated painter in museums worldwide.