The 5 most valuable paintings of all time

Across the globe, classic paintings are admired and enjoyed by art enthusiasts in museums and galleries. Many people with an appreciation for fine art also decide to bring these masterpieces into their homes, collecting their favourite works for their own enjoyment.
But have you ever wondered how much you’d actually need to buy some of the most valuable works in the world? Here we take a look at a selection of expensive masterpieces.
Gauguin’s ‘When Will You Marry’ (1892)
This oil painting is from the post-impressionist Paul Gauguin’s first trip to Tahiti, and has been heavily analysed over the years. The masterpiece was recently acquired in a private sale by the state of Qatar for the sum of around $300 million (around £245 million). However, it shares the top spot with another painting.
De Kooning’s ‘Interchange’ (1955)
Dutch-American abstract expressionist artist Willem de Kooning painted the colourful Interchange just 60 years before it was sold for the record price of around $300 million. As both this and When Will You Marry’s sales were private, it is impossible to know the exact price so we have no way of knowing which was more expensive.
Cezanne’s ‘The Card Players’ (1892/3)
The state of Qatar previously held the record for most valuable art purchase with this buy, in 2011. The nation paid around $274 million, although again the exact price is not known. One of a series of paintings of the same subject, this work has been described as a human still-life due to its depiction of card players in intense concentration.
Pollock’s ‘Number 17A’ (1948)
Jackson Pollock is famous for his intricate abstract paintings, made of splashes and dribbles of paint. Some believe them to be examples of fractals, a complicated mathematical concept. Number 17A is a great example of his work, and it fetched around $200 million when it was sold alongside Interchange.
Rothko’s ‘No. 6 (Violet, Green and Red)’ (1951)
Finally, Mark Rothko’s famous style – featuring hazy blocks of colour, separate from each other – is exemplified in this painting. It was sold in 2014 to Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, who reportedly paid €140 million (almost £120 million) for it.
Interestingly, Rothko is counted as one of the three most famous American artists of the postwar period, alongside Pollock and de Kooning. These artists seem to fetch incredibly high prices for their work.