Top 10 Most Expensive Paintings Of All Time

Top 10 most expensive paintings of all time.

There are a lot of websites displaying “the 10 most expensive paintings ever sold” or similar lists. But unfortunately, most of these lists are incorrect, often being obsoletes, often ignoring the private sales and showing only those pictures sold at auction. This list showcases paintings sold at either public auctions or private sales, and it is frequently updated. In addition to ‘confirmed’ sales, at the end of the list you can find a few works whose price has not being confirmed despite the rumours about exorbitant sums

Titian:Diana and Actaeon

Diana and Actaeon

“Diana and Actaeon”, 1556-1559
$91 million 
Private sale, February 2009. Buyer: United Kingdom

This work have all the splendour and glory of the best of Titian’s ‘painted poetries’. It was previously at the Duke of Sutherland collection, who offered it to the U.K. It has a “sister picture”, “Diana and Callisto”, bought for £45 million ($72 million) in 2012.


Pablo Picasso: Dora Maar au chat

    Pablo Picasso
Dora Maar au chat

“Dora Maar au chat”, 1941
$95.2 million 
Sotheby’s New York , May 2006. Buyer: anonymous

Dora Maar (1907-1997) met Picasso in 1930, and their relationship lasted until 1946. A native from Paris, raised in Argentina and therefore fluent in Spanish, Maar was one of Picasso’s favourite models. This painting, measuring 130- 97 cm, was recently rediscovered and authenticated by Picasso’s daughter, Maya Widmaier Picasso.


Andy Warhol: Eight Elvises

Andy Warhol

Eight Elvises

“Eight Elvises”, 1963
$100 million 
Private sale, 2008. Buyer: anonymous

This unique work by Warhol, measuring over 12 feet long, had been at the collection of Roman collector Annibale Berlingieri for over 40 years. It surpassed the previous world record for a work by Warhol, the $71.7 million paid at Christie’s New York in 2007 for “Green Car Crash (Green Burning Car I)”


Pablo Picasso: Garçon a la pipe

 Pablo Picasso
Garçon a la pipe

“Garçon a la pipe”, 1904
$104.1 million 
Sotheby’s New York , May 2004. Buyer: anonymous

The sale of this young smoker was a milestone in the Art auctions world. It broke the record that Vincent van Gogh held since 1990, and it was the first time that the $100 million barrier was broken. Although the name of the buyer was not revealed, some sources says that he could be Guido Barilla, the Italian pasta magnate.


Pablo Picasso: 'Nude, Green Leaves and Bust'

Pablo Picasso
‘Nude, Green Leaves and Bust

“Nude, Green Leaves and Bust”, 1932
$106.5 million 
Christie’s New York , May 2010. Buyer: anonymous

This sensual and colorful masterpiece the most expensive work by Picasso ever sold at auction. The work, formerly in the collection of Mrs. Sidney F. Brody, had been never exhibited in public since 1961


Edvard Munch - The Scream

 Edvard Munch
The Scream

“The Scream”, 1895
$119.9 million 
Sotheby’s New York , May 2012. Buyer: anonymous

This iconic work is the most expensive painting ever sold at auction. The work is the most colorful of the four versions of Edvard Munch’s masterpiece ‘The Scream’, and the only one still in private hands


Gustav Klimt: Adele Bloch-bauer I

Gustav Klimt
Adele Bloch-bauer I

“Adele Bloch-bauer I”, 1907
$135 million 
Private sale, 2006. Buyer: Ronald Lauder.

The acquisition of this iconic work by cosmetic magnate Ronald Lauder caused a shock in the Art world, not only for the spectacular sum paid for it, but also for the way it was sold, far away from the noisy auction houses. The painting was part of a group of five canvases which had been recently returned to the heirs of Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer. The Nazis confiscated his paintings during the World War II, and after the war, the canvases were placed at the National Gallery of Austria in 1948.



Willem de Kooning
Woman III

“Woman III”, 1952-53
$137.5 million 
Private sale, 2006. Seller: David Geffen. Buyer: Steven Cohen

This painting is the only “Woman” by Willem de Kooning still in private hands. One of this women -described by T. Hess as “black goddesses”



 Jackson Pollock
Number 5, 1948
AP Photo/ Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center

“Number 5, 1948”, 1948
$140 million 
Private sale, 2006. Seller: David Geffen. Buyer: Unknown (rumoured to be Mexican businessman David Martinez)

Right now, this stunning “drip” by Jackson Pollock is the most expensive contemporary painting ever sold, though the exact price was never confirmed (but the price displayed here is generally accepted to be true). The exorbitant sum demonstrates not only the strenght of the Art market, but also the increasing interest for the contemporary works of Art.


Paul Cézanne - The Card Players

 Paul Cézanne
The Card Players, 1892/93

“The Card Players”, 1892/93
$250 million 
Private sale, 2011. Seller: George Embiricos. Buyer: Royal Family of Qatar.

This is the last version of this famous composition by Paul Cézanne still in private hands. The fabulous psychological intensity in the faces of the players make this painting a masterpiece of post-impressionist art.



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