The Most Expensive Artworks in the World – From Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi to Jackson Pollock’s No. 5, take a closer look at the 10 most expensive artworks in the world.
In the last auction, Andy Warhol’s “Blue Marilyn” was sold for $195 million, making it both the most expensive artwork of the 20th century and the most expensive American artwork of all time. The work also changed the order by entering the list of the top 10 most expensive works of art in the world. We have compiled the works included in this list for Voucherix readers.
The 10 Most Expensive Artworks in the World
1/10 – “Salvator Mundi” by Leonardo da Vinci ($450.3 million)
Leonardo da Vinci’s most controversial work, “Salvator Mundi“, also has the distinction of being the highest-priced painting in the world so far. The work, which is estimated to have been made for the French Crown in the first years of the 1500s, depicts a young Jesus holding a thin glass globe with one hand making a sign of blessing.
Although there are those who say that the painting, which was studied as a painted on canvas, does not belong to Leonardo da Vinci, the famous curators agree with the details of the work that it is a typical Vinci work. The work, which has disappeared several times throughout its history, was last taken by Saudi Arabian Prince Mohammed bin Salman in 2017. The whereabouts of the “Salvator Mundi” painting, which was last exhibited in the Louvre Museum in Abu Dhabi, is currently unknown.
2/10 – “Interchange” by Willem de Kooning ($300 million)
The most recognizable name of the genealogical expressionism movement, Willem de Koonig’s Interchange, is the second most expensive piece of art in the world, with a price of $300 million. The work, which is currently on display at The Art Institute of Chicago, was painted in oil on canvas in the 1950s, when Kooning was struggling financially. It is possible to see those years of Kooning in the painting Interchange, which the artist made during the years when he was showing female figures and was influenced by the New York cityscape.
3/10 – “The Card Players” by Paul Cézanne ($250 million)
This painting, which post-impressionist Paul Cézanne blends with his unique brush technique, colors, and the light and shadows he uses, is undoubtedly full of fascinating details. This painting, which is included in the series “The Card Players” made by the artist in the 1950s and consists of five different paintings, is now in the Royal Family of Qatar. The iconic work is now among the most expensive works of art in the world, with a price of 250 million dollars, which was the last seller.
4/10 – “Nafea Faa Ipoipo” by Paul Gauguin ($210 million)
It is possible to see the story when looking at the painting of Paul Gauguin. Gauguin, who was actually a stockbroker and went after painting, which he loved so much because he was unsuccessful in his profession, is a painter who has created the most well-known paintings in the world. Two local women are seen in a painting by Gauguin, one of the post-impressionist artists, who lived in Tahiti in the late 1800s.
The reason why the name of the painting is “Nafea Faa Ipoipo“, meaning “when will you get married“, is because women who wanted to get married in those years wore flowers in their ears. Paul Gauguin painting is exhibited in Basel as part of the collection of an unnamed Qatari family. The price, which includes the painting among the most expensive works in the world, is 210 million dollars.
5/10 – “Number 17A” by Jackson Pollock ($200 million)
Pollock, who creates his own technique by throwing, dabbing and spreading different kinds of paints with sticks without using a brush, is definitely a cult name in the art world. Standing out among the expressionists, or in other words, expressionists, Pollock stood out one step further and attracted the attention of art consultants by using the dripping technique throughout his life. The painting “Number 17A“, created by the painter by dancing around the canvas, is now in Kenneth Griffin’s personal art collection.
6/10 – “Blue Marilyn” by Andy Warhol ($195 million)
Andy Warhol’s painting “Blue Marilyn“, also known as “Shot Sage Blue Marilyn“, is a work made in 1963, two years after Marilyn Monroe’s death, in memory of the famous actress. Based on a photograph taken by the famous actor for the promotion of the movie “Niagara” in 1953, this work was both the most expensive artwork of the 20th century and the most expensive American artwork of all time, with a record price of $195 million. The work also changed the order by entering the list of the top 10 most expensive works of art in the world.
7/10 – “No. 6” (Violet, Green and Red) by Mark Rothko ($186 million)
Highlighting rectangles and squares with striking colors, Mark Rothko is one of the favorite names of art lovers. This painting, in which the artist uses purple, green and red, was admired, like all his other works. The difference is that it was bought at a high price by Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev.
8/10 – “Portraits of Maerten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppit” by Rembra ($180 million)
These two paintings, made by the Dutch painter and printmaker Rembrandt in 1634 to celebrate the wedding of Maerten and Oopjen, have never been separated from each other over the years. These paintings, which art experts and historians agree that they should always be exhibited together and should never be separate, were purchased in 2015 with the joint venture of the Louvre and Rijksmuseum for $180 million, making them among the most expensive works of art in the world.
9/10 – “Les Femmes d’ Alger” (“Version O”) by Pablo Picasso ($179.4 million)
Les Femmes d’Alger (“Version O“) is part of Picasso’s 1954 – 1955 series called “Les Femmes d’Alger” (“Women of Algiers“). Considered a tribute to his friend Henri Matisse, Les Femmes d’Alger (“Version O“), the last of 15 versions of the series, was the most expensive painting ever sold at auction for two years, until the artist’s “Salvator Mundi” broke the record for the world’s most expensive work. This work, which was purchased by the former prime minister of Qatar, Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani for 179.4 million dollars, is currently the 9th most expensive work in the world.
10/10 – “Nu Couché” by Amedeo Modigliani ($170.4 million)
“Nu Couché“, considered the masterwork of Italian painter Modigliani, means “Reclining Naked“. The artist, who has loved to paint nude women throughout his career, received a reaction when this painting, which he painted during the First World War, was first seen, but its value was appreciated later. “Nu Couché” nearly doubled its price in 2003 at its Sotheby’s-led sale in 2018, making it one of the most expensive works of art in the world.