What are the most expensive art pieces ever sold?

08th August 2017

As the creation dates of art pieces slip further and further behind us, the value of them increases, meaning that in today’s world they are selling for higher prices than ever before. As art changes with time, it is of little surprise that some of the most well-known and delicate works of art are selling for prices well over £100 million. But what are the most expensive art pieces ever sold? 

Here we take and the world’s most prestigious and admirable art, their prices and the journeys they have taken: 

Pablo Picasso’s ‘Les Femmes D’Alger (Version ‘O’)’
‘Les Femmes D’Alger (Version ‘O’)’ by Spanish artist Pablo Picasso was painted in 15 different versions, with this one being the last to be created in 1955. Most recently, the masterpiece was sold in May 2015 at a Christie’s auction , selling for $179.3 million (£137.4 million). This price made it the most expensive work of art ever sold at an auction. 

While the purchaser of the painting has not been revealed, according to Culture Trip, there are rumours that it now belongs to former prime minister of Qatar, Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabar Al Thani. It is believed that this series of Cubist art was inspired by Eugène Delacroix's 1834 painting ‘Femmes d'Alger dans leur appartement’.

Willem de Kooning’s ‘Woman III’
In 1953, the famous ‘Woman III’ painting was created by the abstract Expressionist painter  Willem de Kooning and sits in a series of ‘Woman’ works by the artist. Each image in the series is over five feet tall and contains distorted figures of women against an abstract background. 

Although the work was part of Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, following the Iranian revolution in 1979 the painting wasn’t allowed to be shown because of rules by the government relating to visual arts. ‘Woman III’ is the only work from the series that is privately owned. It sold for $137.5 million in 2006 and is now estimated to be worth over $162.4 million. 

Vincent van Gogh’s ‘Portrait of Dr. Gachet’
Dating back to 1890 - the year van Gogh died - this portrait is known by art enthusiasts across the globe as one the most admirable works of art known to mankind. The painting depicts Dr. Paul Gachet who took care of van Gogh during the final months of his life and was first sold in 1990 for $82.5 million to the late Japanese businessman Ryoei Saito.

It was sold at auction and predicted to only sell for $40 million. Today it is believed that the art piece is worth $148-$152 million, however the works whereabouts is now unknown. 

Amedeo Modigliani’s ‘Nu couché’ 
Amedeo Modigliani’s ‘Nu couché’ (Reclining Nude) is one of the artist's most famous works and features a woman lying on a red background. It only recently become an addition to the list of the world’s most expensive works of art in November 2015 when it sold for $170.4 million, crushing estimates of $100 million. 

This is significantly more than Modigliani’s ‘Nu assis sur un divan (La belle romaine)’, which sold for $68.9 million.

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