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On Art: Top Twelve Prices Paid For Paintings…

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“Art arises when the secret vision of the artist and the manifestation of nature agree to find new shapes.” Kahlil Gibran

On Art: Top Twelve Prices Paid For Paintings... The Card Players - Paul Cezanne

On Art: Top Twelve Prices Paid For Paintings... No 5 1948 - Jackson Pollock

On Art: Top Twelve Prices Paid For Paintings... Woman 3 - Willem de Kooning

#1. The Card Players by Paul Cézanne $250/$250M (1892/93)
#2. No. 5, 1948 by Jackson Pollock $156.8/$140M (1948)
#3 Woman III by Willem de Kooning $154.0/$137.5M (1953)

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

On Art: Top Twelve Prices Paid For Paintings... Portrait of Adele - Gustav Klimt

On Art: Top Twelve Prices Paid For Paintings... Portrait of Dr. Gachet - Vincent van Gogh

On Art: Top Twelve Prices Paid For Paintings... Bal du Moulin de la Galette - Pierre Auguste Renoir

#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

On Art: Top Twelve Prices Paid For Paintings... Garcon a La Pipe - Pablo Picasso

On Art: Top Twelve Prices Paid For Paintings... Nude Green Leaves and Bust - Pablo Picasso

On Art: Top Twelve Prices Paid For Paintings... Portrait of Joseph Roulin - Vincent van Gogh

#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. 😉

“The only valid thing in art is the one thing that cannot be explained, to explain away the mystery of a great painting would do irreplaceable harm, for whenever you explain or define something you substitute the explanation or the definition… for the…” Henri Matisse

On Art: Top Twelve Prices Paid For Paintings... Dora Maar Au Chat - Pablo Picasso

On Art: Top Twelve Prices Paid For Paintings... Irises - Vincent van Gogh

On Art: Top Twelve Prices Paid For Paintings... Eight Elvises - Andy Warhol

#10. Dora Maar au Chat by Pablo Picasso $106.1/$95.2M (1941)
#11. Irises by Vincent van Gogh $105.1/$53.9M (1889)
#12. Eight Elvises by Andy Warhol $104.2/$100.0M (1963)

This was a wonderful exercise in revisiting some of the most beautiful collectible artwork in the world and I’m glad I got another glimpse of Andy Warhol’s Eight Elvises. If I had to choose one piece to take home with me, I would have great difficulty doing so. They are all fantastic in their own way… Let me think about it and I’ll get back to you on a price for one of my favorites. And you? 😉

What are your thoughts? Do you have a favorite from the shown art pieces? Would you pay $250M for a painting if you had the money? What type of art do you love? Do you have a favorite artist or two? Do share! Thank you. 😉

Positive Motivation Tip: Art cuts across culture and creed reminding us of the creative best that resides inside of each us.

PHOTO CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS: All Photos The Card Player by P. CezanneNo5 1948 by J. Pollock, Woman 3 by W. de KooningPortrait of Adele by G. KlimtPortrait of Dr Gachet by V. Van Gogh, Bal du Moulin by A. Renoir, Garcon a la Pipe by P. Picasso, Nude Green Leaves by P. Picasso, Portrait of Joseph Roulin by V. van Gogh, Dora Maar au chat by P. Picasso, Irises by V. van Gogh, Eight Elvises by A. Warhol, via Wikipedia or via Flickr

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank
Mirth and Motivation
Positive Kismet

45 Comments leave one →
  1. 03/02/2012 11:59 pm

    Great post…. my favourite of these….hmmmm Today ( I may change my mind tomorrow) it would be the Klimt with only just behind Portrait of Dr Cachet and Garcon a la Pipe..
    I love Sculpture, portraits ( especially self-portraits) and the Pre-Raphaelites…amongst loads of others !

    • 04/02/2012 1:35 pm

      I love Klimt too. Sculptures are one of my favs too and those pre-Raphlaelite ladies always make me smile. 🙂

  2. 04/02/2012 12:43 am

    Oh, Elizabeth, this is right on time. I’ve been working on an art post for next week — I love visiting museums whenever I travel.

    That’s easy. While I love all of the artists listed here, Picasso’s my absolute favorite. Has been since I was 12 or 13 years old when I was given a book of his paintings as a prize. When I started working, the first piece of artwork I bought was a Picasso print, The Lovers. When I lived in Barcelona, I visited the Picasso Museum every chance I got. So, if I had the $$$, I’d put it on a Picasso.
    Oh, I wish I had the funds to buy a Picasso — I’d be beyond thrilled! From this group, I’d take the three Picasso’s Garcon, Nude and Dora Maar, and the Cezanne. Wow, that was exhilarating!
    Enjoyed this, Elizabeth. Thanks!

    • 04/02/2012 1:36 pm

      I figured you’d be a Picasso girl… Looking forward to your post. 😉

  3. 04/02/2012 2:33 am

    Nice Entry I invite you here my friend for lauching 🙂

    • 04/02/2012 1:33 pm

      Great idea on your photo competition. Wishing you much success on it! 🙂

  4. 04/02/2012 3:35 am

    The first one is nostalgic since I learned it when I was a student.

    • 04/02/2012 1:50 pm

      Oh how wonderful then! Did you ever imagine it would sell for so much? 😉

  5. 04/02/2012 4:43 am

    Elizabeth, you should come to Philly this spring for Van Gogh!

    • 04/02/2012 1:52 pm

      I sure should come down and visit. Will check the schedule and let you know. TY! 😉

  6. 04/02/2012 5:48 am

    I would hope that if I did have the money to buy any of these works, I would then donate it to a museum for all of us to enjoy. Of course, that would depend on how selfish I was feeling that day.

    • 04/02/2012 2:34 pm

      😆 Yes, me too and I might prefer to give them on loan so I can have a few back to enjoy when I need to. 🙂

  7. 04/02/2012 8:22 am

    Ahhhh….it was nice to visit an art gallery with my coffee this morning….great post.

    • 04/02/2012 2:35 pm

      Glad you enjoyed the exhibit. I will present some more in the coming weeks. TY! 🙂

  8. Bree permalink
    04/02/2012 9:05 am

    I love the Klimt piece because Gustav depicted women in great color with a majesty that made me feel he loved women. After that one, I’ll take the Cezanne. Thanks for bringing visuals of all twelve on your post so we can enjoy them together!

    • 04/02/2012 2:36 pm

      I love Klimt too. I even have a pair of Icon shoes with that painting of Adele on them. The shoes get a lot of compliments. 🙂

  9. 04/02/2012 11:50 am

    Love Vincent van Gogh’s art, but I’m ok with hanging reproduction prints on my walls. If I saw the original painting “Irises” by Vincent van Gogh hanging on the wall in front of me, the first thing I’d want to do is touch it. Gorgeous post though… thank you Elizabeth!

    • 04/02/2012 2:47 pm

      Can you imagine having irises on the wall? I’d be tempted to touch it too.. Thankfully, museums give us a chance to see and enjoy great art. 🙂

  10. 04/02/2012 11:55 am

    Er, no . . . never would pay $156m for #5 Jackson Pollock painting ever. Maybe $15.00. All the rest, if I had all the money in the world, yes. I would buy them all!! 🙂

    • 04/02/2012 2:58 pm

      Oh, you don’t like Pollock’s work then, eh? They are quite energetic up close. Maybe the picture I found doesn’t show well… His paint splashed paintings are complex and intense. TY! 🙂

  11. 04/02/2012 12:04 pm

    I wouldn’t spend that kind of money on any art work even though I love art. I always suspect that our ‘investment’ is more to do with status than aesthetics.
    Somewhere (can’t remember where) I read about an experiment where they put people into an MRI machine and showed them two paintings – one real and one very good fake – until the subject was told which was which there was no difference in their brains – once they were told one was real and one was fake, the ‘real’ masterpiece caused a change in their brain patterns – however the new areas that lit up were all to do with reward etc as opposed to anything aesthetic.

    • 04/02/2012 1:45 pm

      very interesting CRP and not at all surprising !

      • 04/02/2012 3:07 pm

        Yep and that is why advertising works. It plays on the part of our brain that is attracted to the “sell.” 🙂

    • 04/02/2012 3:06 pm

      There you have it… one man’s meat! In the scheme of things though, $250M to folks with deep pockets is like $250 to others. Sure, there is ego and showmanship involved but, art is a great investment; especially at that level.
      For the super rich, art is another investment instrument to help build their portfolios. It also gives them bragging rights and something tangible to donate in their name to a museum down the road. Collectible Art does appreciate in value and sells well on the next go around. TY! 😉

  12. 04/02/2012 3:50 pm

    If I had $250 million to spend . . . I would use it to feed starving children or save abused animals.

    I would not hang any of these paintings on my walls. Not my cuppa.

    • 04/02/2012 3:53 pm

      One of my favorite artists is Rita Van Gorder who does original silk paintings.

      • 04/02/2012 4:48 pm

        I like the bright colors and themes of Rita’s artwork… nice!

    • 04/02/2012 4:44 pm

      I hear you… If you had a few billion dollars, would you hang another painting on your wall? We can still feed hungry children and appreciate great art, no? TY! 🙂

  13. 04/02/2012 7:44 pm

    What a beautiful post. All paintings are so beautiful. It was a treat to visit this art exhibition. 🙂
    I pass on a blog award to your blog; to say thank you for all the wonderful work you are doing with your blog. You can check my blog for more details.

    • 04/02/2012 7:50 pm

      TY Arindam! I feel honored to be included in your blog award. I will stop by your blog for the rest. Merci! 🙂

  14. 05/02/2012 12:31 am

    The only one I would buy would be the Renoir, maybe the van Gogh. Would I spend that money on a painting? No, I’d rather feed some starving children, as you said above.

    The Australian Government spent some hugh amount on a Pollock too:

  15. 05/02/2012 2:55 am

    It’s obscene, really, isn’t it?

  16. 05/02/2012 7:13 am

    Oh, wow. That’s mind boggling! Beautiful Art although I think the prices are outrageous. Each painting can sustain an entire poor village. I love art and I think there are so much amazing works out there that touches our heart without hurting our pockets. It’s good to know though which one are the most expensive. Impressive list. Thanks . Have a fun day.

  17. 05/02/2012 9:23 am

    It is certainly interesting what passes for art!

  18. 05/02/2012 3:49 pm

    I think I’m eclectic in what I enjoy, much like I am with music. I so appreciate talent, and can just get immersed in an artist with a good gallery showing and think for a time that he or she is the very best! I love Degas and Turner…simply studying them right now. I will move on again and probably make another study soon. As for price…I simply can’t even imagine! 🙂 Debra

  19. 05/02/2012 4:40 pm

    What a great post! I love the artwork of all these artists.

  20. 06/02/2012 4:51 am

    Great post! I love the range you’ve displayed here. We recently had the Peggy Guggenheim collection tour West Australia and we saw two early original Picasso’s and Pollock, which was a treat (to see in person!). It’s amazing how they value art though, I don’t understand the politics and intricacies of arriving at a price for art work. $250m? Hmmmm.

  21. 06/02/2012 10:36 am

    The Portrait of Dr. Gachet is my favorite of these. If I had a tremendous amount of money, I would ideally like to purchase some art by a living artist in order for him/her to directly benefit, or at least from the heirs to assist and honor the family. Otherwise, I would purchase from a private collection and donate to a museum frequented by many inner city schoolchildren.

  22. 07/02/2012 12:01 am

    I love art, love looking at it, love buying it, but would like to think that I would never spend that kind of money if i had it on a single piece of art (although, I can’t promise :)) No, I wouldn’t! Haha
    The way light is depicted in paintings is an endless source of fascination for me.
    Thoroughly enjoyed this post

  23. 11/09/2012 8:16 pm

    What about 5 Euros from street vendors. That will do it for me. 😀

    • 11/09/2012 8:30 pm

      I’ll take it too… There’s some good stuff on the street. 🙂

      • 11/09/2012 8:35 pm

        I love it when you see them do it, esp. the spray painters.

      • 11/09/2012 8:47 pm

        Yes, I call it disposable/collectibles. 🙂


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