These are the 10 most expensive paintings in the world

On the night of Tuesday, May 10, Andy Warhol’s painting “Shot Sage Blue Marilyn” was auctioned in New York. A whopping $195 million was paid for it by an unknown buyer. This makes the work of art the second most expensive painting that has ever changed hands at auction.

The following paintings form the top ten most expensive works of art ever auctioned. Paintings that changed hands privately and were not sold at auction are not listed here. These are the vintages, prices and owners:

“Millstones (Heuhaufen)” – Claude Monet

Bild: AP Sotheby’s

Preis: $110.7 million
Auction date: May 2019
Buyer: Hasso Plattner (Germany)

In 10th place we have the most expensive Impressionist painting. It sold for $110.7 million and is part of a series of images. The French impressionist Claude Monet painted them in 1890/91. The motifs each show temporary grain stacks that were erected in the fields next to one of the painter’s properties in Giverny, France. Monet painted the grainstacks during different seasons and times of the day.

“Girl in a Flower Basket” – Pablo Picasso

Image: EPA / EPA

Preis: $115 million
Auction date: May 2018
Buyer: Nahmad Family (Lebanon / Monaco)

The work from 1905 comes from the “Pink Period” of the Spanish painter. It shows a Parisian street girl named “Linda” – but nothing more is known about the girl. The year 1905 was a pivotal one for Picasso: it marked the transition from his “Blue Period” to the more optimistic “Pink Period” – and thus from a poor, relatively unknown to a successful painter.

“The Scream” – Edvard Munch


Preis: $119.9 million
Auction date: May 2012
Buyer: Leon Black (USA)

“The Scream” is attributed to the Expressionist style. A total of four paintings and one lithograph bear this title. They all show largely the same motif and were created between 1893 and 1910.

«Twelve Landscapes» – Qi Baishi

Preis: 140.8 million dollars
Auction date: December 2017
Buyer: Chinese collector (name unknown)

Qi Baishi is considered the most important modern painter in China. The twelve paintings were created during the painter’s trip through the country in 1926. It is said that he never allowed himself to be influenced by Western aesthetics, which is one of the reasons for the respect that the painter enjoyed and probably also for the high price of his paintings.

«Three Studies of Lucian Freud (Triptychon)» – Francis Bacon

Image: EPA

Preis: $142.4 million
Auction date: November 2013
Buyer: Elaine Wynn (USA)

The work by the Irish-British painter Bacon was created in 1969. It shows the German painter Lucian Freud. Bacon and Freud were close friends and regularly drew each other’s paintings. However, they also painted at the same time and were artistic competitors. The two fell out in the 1970s.

“Recumbent Nude (on the left side)” – Amedeo Modigliani

Bild: AP/Sotheby’s

Preis: $157.2 million
Auction date: November 2015
Buyer: unknown

The “Lying Nude” is also part of a series. Modigliani painted a total of 35 nudes between 1916 and 1919. In 1920 the painter died of meningitis at the age of 35. The auction house Sotheby’s, which auctioned the painting, did not provide any information about the buyer.

“Nu couché” – Amedeo Modigliani

Bild: AP/Christie’s Images

Preis: $170.4 million
Selling date: November 2015
Buyer: Long Museum (privates Museum in China)

This picture is also part of the Modigliani series. It was acquired by a Chinese collector couple in 2015 and has been hanging in their private museum in Shanghai ever since.

“The Women of Algiers (Version “O”)” – Pablo Picasso

Image: wikimedia

Preis: $179.4 million
Selling date: May 2015
Buyer: unknown

Picasso’s picture was created in 1955 and was a homage to his colleague Henri Matisse, who died in November 1954. Almost twenty years before the last change of ownership, “Les femmes d’Alger (Version O)” was auctioned at Christie’s for $32 million.

«Shot Sage Blue Marilyn» – Andy Warhol

Bild: keystone

Preis: $195 million
Selling date: May 2022
Buyer: unknown

Here, too, the buyer is not “yet” known. The “Sage Blue” Marilyn is one of five images created using the screen printing technique. It is now the most expensive modern painting ever auctioned.

«Salvator Mundi» – (probably) Leonardo Da Vinci

Build: AP/AP

Preis: $450.3 million
Selling date: November 2017
Buyer: (probably) Mohammed bin Salman

“Salvator Mundi” is by far the most expensive painting in history. In 2005, a New York art dealer bought it for a measly $1,175, after which it was carefully restored over the years. However, the picture only achieved cult status through the price record – after it had changed hands several times, each time with incredible margins.

The “savior of the world” is attributed to the Renaissance master Leonardo da Vinci – an assumption that has been doubted again and again and which has not been clarified to this day. It is also not clear who the owner is. It was not until 2019 that the media reported that the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had had the picture auctioned. However, this has not been officially confirmed to date. The painting has not been seen publicly since it was purchased.

More on the – really unbelievable – story of the most expensive picture in the world:


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