The Most Expensive Paintings

When Will You Marry? is the English translation of the world’s most expensive painting from the Tahitian Napfea faa Ipoipo. The current most expensive painting in the world is by French Impressionist Paul Gauguin and was privately sold for $300m in February 2015 by Rudolf Staechelin, to an unknown Qatari buyer. Currently, the artwork resides at an exhibition in the Fondation Beyeler, Riehen and will remain so until 28th June 2015.

Originally painted in 1892, the oil painting depicts two Tahitian women lounging in Tahitian fields. The white flower worn by the Tahitian woman is supposedly suggesting she is looking for a martial partner.

With this record sale, the painting has replaced Paul Cezanne’s The Card Players (1894-1895) as the most expensive painting in the world which was sold in 2011 for $250m to the Qatar Royal Family. The Card Players is 1 of 5 of Paul Cezanne’s card player series, all of which portray Provençal male peasants perched around a table, participating in a game of cards.

The Most Expensive Painting Sold at Auction

While the most expensive painting in the world changed hands through a series of private collectors, some of the most expensive paintings ever sold have been at auction.

Francis Bacon’s triptych Three Studies of Lucien Freud is one such example, which were sold at a Christie’s auction for the sum of $142.4m to a telephone bidder. The painting was produced in 1969 at the Royal College of Art in London within Francis Bacon’s studio. He and Freud were said to be good friends, with a friendship that spanned from their first meeting in 1945, until the 1970s where in which is ended after a supposed dispute.

Pablo Picasso’s Nude, Green Leaves and Bust was the previous title holder for the most expensive artwork sold at auction. Selling in just 8 minutes of auctioning, the painting went for $106.5m. The image is Picasso’s interpretation of his lover Marie-Therese Walter and was accomplished within a single day in the year 1932.

The Most Expensive Painting by a Woman

A portrait of a flower was painted by Georgia O’Keeffe in 1932 and in 2014 it became the most expensive painting to be painted by a woman. The Jimson Weed/White Flower No.1 was won at a Sotheby’s auction by Mrs. Walton with a bid of $44.4m from the Georgie O’Keeffe Museum. With an impressive career that spanned over 60 years, Georgia O’Keeffe produced over 1000 paintings, with her style being attributed with helping to produce the origins of American Modernism.

Most Expensive Painting by a Living Artist

They say an artist’s work is never truly appreciated until after their death, but that’s not always the case. Artists such as Gerhard Richter. Fetching $30.4m at a Sotheby’s auction in London, the artwork entitled Abstraktes Bild is the most expensive painting by a living artist. His oil on Canvas painting standing at 9ft 10in x 8ft 2in was painted in 1986. The artist claims to paint ‘like a camera’, adhering to abstract forms to produce photo-like paintings.


About the Author:

Adam is a freelance writer that focuses on luxury asset trends for Borro Private Finance.