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The top 5 most expensive paintings in the world

If tomorrow you were given unlimited funds and had to choose a painting and only a

painting, which one would you choose?

Art, like most things, is very subjective and down to personal choice. You may love Banksy, have a passion for Pablo Picasso or be mesmerised by Michelangelo.

On the other hand, you may like a painting by a local artist that sells at relatively low prices.

The world of art is vast and there is something for everybody’s tastes and budgets.

With that being said, today I wanted to look at the 5 most expensive paintings in the world, which are:

  • Salvator Mundi – Leonardo da Vinci

  • Interchange – Willem de Kooning

  • The Card Players – Paul Cézanne

  • Nafea Faa Ipoipo – Paul Gauguin

  • ‘Number 17a’ – Jackson Pollock


The artworld is still divided whether it’s da Vinci’s real work or the work of one of his skilled students. Regardless, this painting of Christ once owned by King Charles I of England, fetched a hefty $450 million at a Christie’s auction in 2017.

It hasn’t been seen in public since that evening in November 2017. Its whereabouts have

become the source of intense speculation after the Louvre Abu Dhabi, which had previously announced it would display the painting, postponed the grand unveiling without explanation.

The painting is characteristic of Da Vinci’s style, one using a technique that he perfected

called Sfumato, “Smoky Light”.


Abstract Painting
Interchange by Willem de Kooning

Painted by Dutch American abstract painter, Willem de Kooning, ‘Interchange’ is an oil on canvas.

It measures 200.7 by 175.3 centimetres (79inch by 69inch) and was completed in 1955. It was one of his first abstract landscape works and marked a change in his style.

In September 2015, it was sold to Kenneth Griffin, CEO of hedge fund Citadel for US $300 million. It is currently on loan to and displayed at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Willem de Kooning actually sold this artwork for $4,000 in the same year that he finished it.

This piece of art is in the Abstract Expressionist style, and you could be forgiven for not

knowing, it’s actually a landscape.


The Card Players by Paul Cézanne

Paul Cézanne’s famous paintings of peasant card players and pipe smokers have long been considered to be among his most iconic and powerful works.

There are 4 other pieces titled the same and they are at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Musée d’Orsay, the Courtauld, and the Barnes Foundation.

This particular painting was bought by the Royal Family of Qatar in 2011 for more than $250 million and set the record for the highest price ever paid for a work of art up until that time.

The now popular impressionist style was achieved by pushing the boundaries of painting in radical new directions. Cézanne painted freely and inventively, and although the technique was unpopular at the time, it would prove an inspiration to later generations of avant-garde artists.


Nafea Faa Ipoipo by Paul Gauguin

Nafea Faa Ipoipo? or When Will You Marry? by Paul Gauguin, was thought to have become one of the most expensive artwork sold when it was reported to have changed hands for a record $210 million in 2014. The seller, Rudolf Staechelin, a retired Sotheby’s executive confirmed the sale, but declined to identify the buyer.

Gauguin visited Tahiti twice. His first trip was in 1891 after becoming estranged from his wife and was facing financial ruin given the unpopularity of his art. His paintings were met with indifference when he eventually returned to Paris two years later.

Gauguin’s talent was not fully recognised until after his death, in 1903 at the age of 54 from a morphine overdose.

He was said to have been a major influence on 20th century greats such as Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró and Henri Matisse.

This Post-Impressionist oil painting on canvas, painted in 1892 measures 101 x 77 cm


Number 17a by Jackson Pollock

Jackson Pollock’s painting ‘Number 17a’ was bought as part of a deal with the David Geffen Foundation and Kenneth Griffin, an American hedge fund manager and billionaire, for $200 million. He also bought Interchange by Willem De Kooning at the same time.

Jackson Pollock is one of the most famous abstract expressionist painters of all time. Number 17A, an oil on fibreboard ( chipboard) is a good example of drip painting.

Initially, drip paintings by Pollock were met with great public scrutiny and were mostly

unpopular and therefore had low value in art markets. This 1948 piece was featured in a

1949 Life magazine article that helped make Jackson Pollock a household name.

At the peak of his fame, Pollock abruptly abandoned the drip style.

If you like the drip style, made famous by Jackson Pollock but can't quite afford the price tag you might be interested in looking at my Original art inspired by Pollock's action paintings but without so much emphasis on the "action"

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