The Most Famous and Expensive Paintings in the World

Paul Cézanne's "The Card Players"

Among the wide range of art, some pieces not only look amazing but also hold significant financial value.
Let’s look at some of the most famous and expensive paintings in the world. These paintings, from classical masterpieces to modern wonders, are more than just art – they represent human creativity and cultural importance.

Leonardo da Vinci’s “Salvator Mundi”

Let’s start with the intriguing “Salvator Mundi.” The name itself, meaning “Savior of the World” in Latin, gives a sense of greatness and spirituality. The painting, believed to be by Leonardo da Vinci, shows Jesus Christ deep in thought, holding a crystal ball and giving a blessing. Da Vinci’s incredible skill, dating back to around 1500, shines through in every brushstroke and detail.

Salvador Mundi Art via Wikimedia Commons
Salvador Mundi Art via Wikimedia Commons

What’s astonishing is that “Salvator Mundi” was sold for a mind-boggling $450.3 million at a Christie’s auction in November 2017. It was bought by a Saudi prince, who later donated it to the Louvre Abu Dhabi. But even with the high price and prestigious ownership, the painting is still a mystery – there’s debate about whether it’s really by da Vinci, and some say it’s been hidden from the public since being sold.

Willem de Kooning’s “Interchange”

The painting titled “Interchange” captures the very essence of abstraction. When observing its dynamic colors and daring shapes, I can almost tangibly sense the vibrancy of New York City – the very inspiration that ignited Willem de Kooning’s creative process. The seamless merging of brushstrokes and forms resembles a visual symphony brimming with life and energy.

What makes this painting even more interesting is that it holds the record for being the most expensive painting ever sold privately – a whopping $300 million in September 2015. A billionaire hedge fund manager named Kenneth C. Griffin is the lucky owner, and his collection also includes de Kooning’s “Number 17A.” These pieces now grace the Art Institute of Chicago, inviting art lovers like me to enjoy their beauty.

Paul Cézanne’s “The Card Players”

This art is a series of paintings by Paul Cézanne that are simple and charming. Each canvas shows peasants playing cards against a rural backdrop. Cézanne’s skill with composition, color, and light makes these scenes come alive and showcases his unique post-impressionist style.

One of these paintings was sold for an incredible $250 million in April 2011, showing just how much people value Cézanne’s artistry. It’s now in Qatar, joining other famous collections. Similar paintings can be found in well-known museums like Musée d’Orsay, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Courtauld Institute of Art.

Paul Gauguin’s “When Will You Marry?”

“When Will You Marry?” tells a story of Tahiti, with two young Tahitian women sitting peacefully surrounded by mountains and flowers. Painted in 1892, it’s like a window to a world full of colors and mysteries.

This painting made waves by selling for an impressive $210 million in February 2015. The lucky owner is Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad Al-Thani, the head of the Qatar Museums Authority and the sister of the Emir of Qatar. The painting’s journey started with Swiss collector Rudolf Staechelin, and it’s now part of the Fondation Beyeler.

Rembrandt’s Love Story in Paint

Imagine a love story captured on canvas. Rembrandt’s “Portrait of Marten Soolmans” and “Portrait of Oopjen Coppit” are two stunning full-length portraits. Painted in 1634, they give us a glimpse into the lives of a young couple dressed lavishly, a true display of elegance and romance.

These portraits hold the record as the fifth most expensive paintings ever sold together, fetching a substantial $180 million in September 2015. The Louvre Museum in Paris and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam proudly showcase these treasures. These portraits were once cherished by Eric de Rothschild, a French banker and collector who held them dear.

These paintings are more than just strokes on a canvas – they’re glimpses into the hearts of their creators, capturing human expression that spans time and place. As we admire these incredible masterpieces, let’s also remember the stories behind them, the fortunes they’ve fetched, and the artistic legacies that continue to captivate and inspire us all.

Read more:

What Makes Art so Valuable and Expensive?

It did happen … a new record price for art at auction!

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