“Art arises when the secret vision of the artist and the manifestation of nature agree to find new shapes.” Kahlil Gibran
When I read about the premium price, $250 million dollars, that the tiny nation of Qatar recently paid for Paul Cézanne‘s painting, The Card Players, I went looking for other pricey purchases of fabulous artwork by the old masters and contemporary artists. It didn’t take long to find a list and I thought I’d share pictures of the top twelve on the list I found on Wikipedia. Some paintings like the Mona Lisa are priceless, valued/insured at over $100 million and not for sale. The prices of the top twelve shown here range from $250 to $104.2 million. Each painting has an original price and then an adjusted price to reflect inflation. For instance, #2 on the list Jackson Pollock‘s No. 5, 1948 had an original price of $140M and an adjusted price of $156.8M. For this post, I’ll write them as $156.8/$140M.
“Keep your love of nature, for that is the true way to understand art more and more.” Vincent Van Gogh
#4. Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I by Gustav Klimt $150.2/$135M (1907)
#5. Portrait of Dr. Gachet by Vincent van Gogh $144.1/$82.5M (1890)
#6. Bal du Moulin de la Galette by Pierre-Auguste Renoir $136.4/$78.1M (1876)
It is remarkable to see how distinctly each artist’s work presented here shines. It is also a shame that Van Gogh did not live to enjoy the fruits of his exquisite effort. The first time I came across Gustav Klimt’s artwork I was floored by glorious shades of glittering golds and the intricate details he added to his paintings. Renoir’s depth perception and layering of forms is brilliant while Van Gogh’s brush strokes remain a marvel even to accomplished painters.
“The artist must create a spark before he can make a fire and before art is born, the artist must be ready to be consumed by the fire of his own creation.” Auguste Rodin
#7. Garçon à La Pipe by Pablo Picasso $124.3/$104.2M (1905)
#8. Nude, Green Leaves and Bust by Pablo Picasso $110.2/$106.5M (1932)
#9. Portrait of Joseph Roulin by Vincent van Gogh $107/$58M plus exchange of works (1889)
Some of Picasso’s work was influenced, to some degree by African art, and he was one of the fortunate artists who enjoyed tremendous success and wealth in his lifetime. When Garcon a la Pipe sold at Sotheby’s in 2004, it held the record of the most expensive painting ever sold. Alas, it has since been overtaken by other paintings. Who buys these extravagantly expensive pieces? Private collectors like the Royals of Qatar and Ronald Lauder, Corporations like the Barilla Group and even Museums. The Museum of Modern Art, New York, bought Vincent Van Gogh’s The Portrait of Joseph Roulin. More below.