Take a look below for our list of 10 of the most expensive paintings sold at auction.
1. Garcon a la Pipe
Painted in 1905 by Pablo Picasso, Garcon a la Pipe (Boy with a Pipe) became the most expensive painting ever sold at auction when it was sold in Sotheby’s in New York in May 2004. Generally regarded by art critics as one of Picasso’s more average pieces, it stunned the art world by reaching a sale price of just over $104 million.
2. Dora Maar au Chat
This world famous painting – another by Pablo Picasso – was bought in a Sotheby’s auction in May 2006 by an anonymous Russian bidder for just over $95 million, well over its pre-auction estimate of $50 million. The cubist painting depicts the artist’s Croatian mistress Dora Maar sat on a chair with a cat perched on her shoulder.
3. Portrait of Adele Bloch-Baur II
A 1912 painting by Gustav Klimt, it depicts the wife of wealthy industrialist Ferdinand Bloch-Baur, an avid supporter of the arts and sponsor of Klimt. It was sold at Christie’s in November 2006 reaching almost $88 million. The subject of the painting Adele Bloch-Baur is the only model to be painted twice by the Austrian painter (the first painting allegedly sold for $135 million in a private sale to New York’s Neue Galerie.
4. Portrait du Dr. Gachet
Painted by Vincent van Gogh in 1890, this is one of two versions painted by the Dutch artist. It shows van Gogh’s doctor Paul Gachet (who looked after him in the last months of his life) sitting at a table holding a foxglove plant. It gained fame in May 1990 when a Japanese businessman paid $82.5 million for the piece at a Christie’s auction, making it the most expensive painting in the world at the time.
5. Bal au Moulin de la Galette, Montmartre
Commonly known as Le Moulin de la Galette, it is an 1876 painting by the French artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir. It shows a scene of a social gathering in the Montmartre district of Paris, France. It was bought in auction in May 1990 by Ryoei Saito – the same Japanese businessman that bought Portrait du Dr Gachet – for over $78 million.
6. Massacre of the Innocents
Painted in 2 versions in the 17th century by Peter Paul Rubens, Massacre of the Innnocents depicts the biblical event of the same name as described in the Godpel of Matthew. In July 2002 it was sold at auction in Sotheby’s, London for almost $76 million to Canadian press baron Kenneth Thomson, making it the most expensive Old Master painting sold at auction.
7. Portrait de l’Artiste Sans Barbe
One of many self-portraits produced by Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh, Portrait de l’Artiste Sans Barbe was painted in 1889 just after he had shaved himself. In 1998 at an auction in Christie’s, New York the painting sold for $71.5 million, making it the third most expensive painting in the world at the time.
8. Rideau, Cruchon et Compotier
Considered the most expensive still life ever sold at auction, Rideau, Cruchon et Competier was painted towards the end of the 19th century by French artist Paul Cezanne. It was sold at Sotheby’s, New York in May 1999 for over $60 million. It was later sold for a loss.
9. Femme aux Bras Croises
The third painting by Pablo Picasso in our list of the most expensive paintings ever sold at auction, Femme aux Bras Croises (Woman with Folded Arms) was painted in 1902 during the artist’s Blue Period. It was sold for over $55 million at a Christie’s auction in 2000.
Another painting in our list by Vincent Van Gogh, Irises was one of his first works while at an asylum in Saint-Rmy-de-Provence in 1889, a year before his death. It was sold for just under $54 million in 1987 making it the most expensive painting in the world at the time. It now rounds off our list of the top ten most expensive paintings ever sold at auction.