The art world is often seen as a status symbol for the well-to-do, and to some extent, it’s true. After all, many works of art by well known painters such as Salvador Dali or Leonardo Da Vinci have sold for millions of dollars, which is an awesome amount of money for the average collector.
The wealthy collecting works of art can be traced back to around the time of the Renaissance when bankers and merchants offered funding assistance to workshops run by Michelangelo and Rubens.
Today, what adds to the collector’s value of certain paintings is the public’s recognition of the works. When there’s a renowned name attached to any painting, it becomes a highly sought after item by wealthy collectors. In most instances, money is no object and the thrill of the hunt is what pulls people in. More importantly, art isn’t just astoundingly beautiful to look at, but a solid investment that will accrue value over time as long as it’s stored and preserved correctly.
Still, some paintings sold for many millions of dollars, and below, we will highlight five of the most expensive paintings to ever hit the secondary market.
1. Leonardo Da Vinci’s “Salvator Mundi”
This is artwork that is attributed to be a painting of Salvator Mundi. It was always believed that such a painting existed, but it was the belief of the art world that the painting was destroyed long ago. Fortunately, in 2005, this priceless relic was rediscovered, but still to this day, the actual subject remains a hot debate.
Not all scholars believe that this painting is indeed of Salvator Mundi, however, due to the provenance of the piece, it still fetched 450.3 million dollars on November 15, 2017. It was sold at Christie’s Auction and its date of creation is thought to be around circa 1490-1519.
2. Paul Cezanne’s “The Card Players”
Seen as the last version of this composition, “The Card Players” is a psychologically evocative painting. The expressions on the faces of the players is a great example of post-impressionist art. This masterpiece was sold in 2011 to the Royal Family of Qatar.
It is dated 1892/1893 and commanded a price of 250 million dollars. Given the price of inflation, it is believed to be worth over 275 million dollars today.
3. Paul Gauguin’s “When Will You Marry?”
In Tahitian, the title of this painting is, “Nafea faa ipoipo” and it was painted in the year 1892. This painting is a beautiful work of ethnic art and is one of Cezanne’s most reproduced works. It depicts two women, one wearing a mission dress and the other, a traditional Tahitian dress.
Most notable is the serious expression on the faces of the women. This work of art was sold in a private sale for 210 million dollars in 2015.
4. Gustav Klimt’s “Water Serpent II”
This painting is seen as a classical work of Gustav Klimt painted in 1907, but it was actually seized by the Nazis during World War II. Dmitri Rybolovleb was the art dealer lucky enough to buy this piece, but it did result in a lawsuit against him. In 2013, he paid 187 million dollars and it is now valued at 198 million dollars.
5. Pablo Picasso’s “Les Femmes de’Alger”
Though not seen as one of Picasso’s most important works, it is one of his most famous from his later period. Painted in 1955, this painting of Picasso’s sold for the highest amount, totaling 179.4 million dollars in May 2015. It was purchased by an anonymous buyer.
Art has the ability to make us feel every emotion on the spectrum, but some masterpieces stay with us long after the artist is gone. In the case of iconic painters such as Da Vinci or Picasso, they have become embedded in the minds of the public, and their works demand a price tag of well over a hundred million dollars.