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Top 10: World's Most Expensive Paintings


If the media is anything to believe, the world's economy is in a terrible state. So to make everyone feel better, we take a look at the incredibly large amounts of money people have spent on some of the world's finest paintings.

The top 10 list comes from both auctions and private sales from around the world, although the majority of the sales come from the last 5 years.

Interesting to know, the most famous painting in the world, Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa was insured for $100 million back in 1962. Adjusted for inflation to 2005 would make it worth $645 Million! Of course, there aren't many people in the world who can afford such paintings, us mere mortals have to live with canvas art.

10. Jasper Johns - False Start - $80,000,000

10. Jasper Johns - False Start - $80,000,000

10. Jasper Johns - False Start - $80,000,000

10. Jasper Johns - False Start - $80,000,000

Bought in 2006 by the founders of the Citadel Investment Group Anne and Kenneth Griffin for $80 Million made this one of the most expensive American paintings in the world. Johns is a regarded as a Neo-Dadaists and say he rejected the unique individualism of the Abstract Expressionists.

9. Claude Monet - Le Bassin aux Nymphéas - $80,400,000

9. Claude Monet - Le Bassin aux Nymphéas - $80,400,000

9. Claude Monet - Le Bassin aux Nymphéas - $80,400,000

9. Claude Monet - Le Bassin aux Nymphéas - $80,400,000

One of Monet's most famous paintings. "Le Bassin aux Nympheas" from the "water lilies" series. The painting, depicting a beautiful scene of a bridge with floating water lilies became the most expensive Monet back in 2008 when it sold for double the previous highest Monet.

8. Vincent van Gogh - Portrait du Dr Gachet - $82,500,000

8. Vincent van Gogh - Portrait du Dr Gachet - $82,500,000

8. Vincent van Gogh - Portrait du Dr Gachet - $82,500,000

8. Vincent van Gogh - Portrait du Dr Gachet - $82,500,000

This is a previous "most expensive painting" after selling in 1990 to a Japanese Businessman for a staggering $82,500,000. It was painted 100 years before in 1890 and is one of two paintings depicting the great artists doctor.

7. Francis Bacon - Triptych 1976 - $86,300,000

7. Francis Bacon - Triptych 1976 - $86,300,000

7. Francis Bacon - Triptych 1976 - $86,300,000

7. Francis Bacon - Triptych 1976 - $86,300,000

The Irish painter is known for some dark and evil paintings. The Triptych 1976 collection was part of a much larger series of triptychs (three panels of art creating one image). It was purchased at auction in 2007 by Russian billionaire and Chelsea Football Team owner Roman Abramovich.

6. Gustav Klimt - Portrait of Adele Bloch-Baur II - $87,936,000

6. Gustav Klimt - Portrait of Adele Bloch-Baur II - $87,936,000

6. Gustav Klimt - Portrait of Adele Bloch-Baur II - $87,936,000

6. Gustav Klimt - Portrait of Adele Bloch-Baur II - $87,936,000

Adele Bloch-Baur was the wife of Industrialist Ferdinand Bloch-Baur and was an avid fan and sponsor of Klimts. The Austrian artist only ever painted one woman twice, this was here. Christies looked after the auction which netted close to $88 Million back in 2006.

5. Pablo Picasso - Dora Maar au chat - $95,216,000

5. Pablo Picasso - Dora Maar au chat - $95,216,000

5. Pablo Picasso - Dora Maar au chat - $95,216,000

5. Pablo Picasso - Dora Maar au chat - $95,216,000

2006 was a good year for expensive art. In May, this Pablo Picasso fetched almost twice it's estimate ($50 Million) when an anonymous Russian Bidder picked it up for a little over $95 million. Dora was Picasso's Mistress and the image has a cat resting on her shoulder.

4. Pablo Picasso - Garcon a la pipe - $104,168,000

4. Pablo Picasso - Garcon a la pipe - $104,168,000

4. Pablo Picasso - Garcon a la pipe - $104,168,000

4. Pablo Picasso - Garcon a la pipe - $104,168,000

Regarded by many art critics as one of Picasso's "average" paintings, "Garcon a la Pipe" (Boy with Pipe) stunned the art world by fetching a little over $104 Million which makes this the most expensive painting to be sold at an auction. Sotheby's of New York was were the magic happened back in 2004 almost 100 years after it was painted (1905)

3. Gustav Klimt - Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer - $135,000,000

3. Gustav Klimt - Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer - $135,000,000

3. Gustav Klimt - Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer - $135,000,000

3. Gustav Klimt - Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer - $135,000,000

This is the second of the two Klimt's depicting Adele Bloch-Bauer and was subjected to somewhat of a controversy. The painting was sold after the Austrian government forced a previous owner to return it to it's rightful owner after it was stolen by the Nazis in World War 2. The current owner is Ronald S. Lauder, the cosmetics heir.

2. Willem De Kooning - Woman III - $137,500,000

2. Willem De Kooning - Woman III - $137,500,000

2. Willem De Kooning - Woman III - $137,500,000

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2. Willem De Kooning - Woman III - $137,500,000

Between 1951 and 1953, abstract impressionist Willem De Kooning painting 6 Woman paintings. This one, number 3 was originally hung in Iran until it was deemed "unsuitable" for public display. It was traded off for the last Tahmasabi Shahnameh. It was then sold to financial Billionaire Steven Cohen for the staggering $137.5 million.

1. Jackson Pollock - No5 1948 - $140,000,000

1. Jackson Pollock - No5 1948 - $140,000,000

1. Jackson Pollock - No5 1948 - $140,000,000

1. Jackson Pollock - No 5 1948 - $140,000,000

One of the most known abstract impressionists in the world. American Jackson Pollock is not to every one's taste, but he's one of America's best known Artists. It's also huge! It measures a staggering 8ft by 4ft. It's un-confirmed about the price of this piece, and who the current owner is. Inside reports say it went for $140 million back on 2006 to Mexican David Martinez.



J Zod from Nairobi on May 23, 2019:

I love art so much.As an artist I love the works of the masters and I will become a master myself. Monalisa is the my favorite painting though.It is an enchanting masterpiece.

kartick on November 15, 2013:

All the creations is my own imagination and without any professional guidance.I would like to take your help for my art works as i have no training under any teacher or guru and no method.

I want to display my artworks among people so that a true lover of art can judge a real value of this.

hope you will help me. ( my email id

Romeos Quill from Lincolnshire, England on October 23, 2013:

I wonder how many of their present ' owners ' are true artists. Claude Monet seemed to have a special touch to his brush. An interesting Hub, and thank you.

Best Wishes ( if you're still around ).


WALTER WEBB on October 17, 2013:







Nitin Patel on July 13, 2013:

This is not a true list of the most expensive paintings, the first number is The Card Players with the tag of $ 250 million, and if you dont consider the inflation the number one is Mona Lisa with guessed $ 700 million!

cmh13 on May 15, 2013:

Interesting piece. But someone should have edited it more carefully. Grammar and facts are very sloppy.

guy bryan on February 06, 2013:

i have a paintin of the Bauxite Plant that is Linden Guyana, it was painted in the year 1977, the paintin is 17'' by 53''.my email

Melinda Mills on January 07, 2013:

I am surprised with the selection. All except the Monet and the one by Van Gogh "Dr Gachet" are insipid and childish. I wish they would vote for beautiful art - nothing is wrong with painting beautiful things. I do art and I have studied art history but I am not impressed with the paintings which one has to interpret. God is the best artist and when one goes outside into a garden or a park one does not have to strain his brain, he just admires everything and is refreshed.

Melanie Chisnall from Cape Town, South Africa on May 25, 2012:

You just reminded me of why I enjoyed Art History so much in school. That painting of Jackson Pollock was one of the final pieces I studied - I can't believe it sold for $140 million! Thanks for sharing - voted up and interesting :)

mudita on April 30, 2012:


kpkakoma on April 25, 2012:

..i appreciate art so much..but still have ages to understand where this beauty comes we come up with great ideas and creativity, only God knows...nice hub by the way, though i must say money can't buy's priceless..they deserve it..

The Emperor on April 19, 2012:

How do you like my clothes? What! I'm naked? How'd that happen!...but...but.....darn it!

If you think this is art, then please go see a seriously need help, and fast!

opeoluwa ogunyakin (CEO) Artminds & Decor on April 11, 2012:

Art is not a joke or junk is the power of creative minds, so it can not be quantify with just word of mouth it goes beyond that.

opeoluwa ogunyakin on April 09, 2012:

I believe artist sholud able to enjoy there works before death often time artist has been celebrated after life so many died in poverty. lets change these mentallity and appreciate them while alife and after life.

manswama on April 07, 2012:

these paintings are the best examples of great humen imagination if someone can really really understand art

painter on April 03, 2012:

its it is art i can also make better art

Lololol on April 02, 2012:

I guess they painted the last one with dinosaur shit for it to be worth that much...

artist on March 25, 2012:

Jasper Johns - False Start it's very impressive painting

these painting are terrible i draw better

dholu on March 21, 2012:

very very nice painting

kashish on March 03, 2012:

Claude Monet your painting looks like a real photo.

priyanshi on March 03, 2012:

very very nice paintig by Gustav Klim.You are the best painter in the world.How neet,cleen,and beatiful painting you made.The dress of the women is so so nice and the hat also.The background is so so so so so so sooooooooooooo nice.

priyanshi on March 03, 2012:

very very nice painting

Jonathan McBane on February 21, 2012:

In your voting choices you should add a choice for NONE

this is clearly a case of "the emperors clothing"

mirza on February 19, 2012:

hey people i would rather say these paintings should b placed in a museum instead of tempting people for spending or the correct word would b "wasting" their hard earned money on this things.. no offence to art lovers but plzz guys give it a thought, the money the buyers spend on these kind of things how many people can send their whole lifes happily,,,"billions of happy smile rather than just urs"

SonQuioey10 on February 16, 2012:

It never ceases to amaze me how paintings can be worth so much money.

But I understand why they are, they're so beautiful and intriguing. Nice Hub

zeel on January 26, 2012:

they forget beauty of money absolut best paintings are stored in many store rooms in whole world

korbs on January 18, 2012:

come on get real these are atrocious ick

nareshwar on January 13, 2012:

contact for any type of paintings...

Rigeddon on January 10, 2012:

This comment goes for the #1 Painting. I wouldn't buy a painting that looks like splatter if it's from a professional painter. I've painted better.

DWayne on December 30, 2011:

I can paint better than these stupid paintings

Saba on December 09, 2011:

All these pics r tooo good but ,pic#2 is not gud as much as it should be

Saba on December 09, 2011:

All these pics r tooo good but ,pic#2 is not gud as much as it should be

johno on December 06, 2011:

What absolute CRAP!!!

wacko on November 09, 2011:

these paintsing are terrible i draw better !

adjil on November 08, 2011:

what an amazing abstract art painted by Jackson Pollok!!!!great!!

amit on November 08, 2011:

its all a nice paintings...

anas on November 04, 2011:

nice paintings i can't belive these are hand made paintings

Ron on October 31, 2011:

Great hub, looking forward to come back and fascinted by your posts. Thank you.

Ron from

Karoline on October 31, 2011:

Wow amazing art

kris lecount on October 23, 2011:

helps me with my fine arts work

natasha grant on October 21, 2011:

they are AMAZING and wile dear !!!

Victoria on October 18, 2011:

I love the cat on Dora's sholuder :)

emma on September 27, 2011:

hilarious how everyone wants the claude monet. it's really not the most interesting... or beautiful

RichardCMckeown on August 31, 2011:

I can't believe that paintings would cost like that. Really amazing.Great hub.I am now informed.

some dude on July 30, 2011:

i just dont get it... who would pay that?

John Pilkey on June 11, 2011:

Abstract and Expressionist art is valuable when it results in tight well-organized compositions like Jasper Johns' False Start. Too many paintings in these traditions are sloppily organized. Despite modern democracy, all good art is essentially aristocratic.

Middle eastern on March 08, 2011:

Couldn't understand why No. 5 and Woman III were sold for such a high price? there is nothing artistic about them.. splashing ink and basic kindergarden style painting have nothing to do with art..

Amjad khan on February 06, 2011:

These all are not able to get the top 10 position

Rahul Rustogi on November 29, 2010:

Don't understand Jackson Pollock's work: the painting is not aesthetically pleasing, do not seem to have any apparent meaning - like someone has splashed paint randomly. Rubbish!!

Ian Bonney on October 17, 2010:

Despite their immense value, theres only about three in that lot i could hang on the wall in my house....and it didn't surprise me in the slightest that monet's bridge painting headed the pack by a large margin. Although its an aquired taste, there is beauty within the ugliness of Pollocks painting.....but the one I really couldn't stand was bacon's Triptych.....that was ghastly!! Still....each to his own.

P.S.....what happened to Van Gogh's Irises? I thought that was ranked no. 6 at 90 million dollars.

oldmaster on August 08, 2010:

If I have a billion I'll pay double the price for that Willem De Kooning painting just to burn it. It's very ugly the buyer can buy the same painting for just dollar from a kindergarten art school.

Rafini from Somewhere I can't get away from on June 07, 2010:

So you mean if I created a painting like No5 1948 I could make some serious money? lol Gee, maybe I can draw after all!

(btw - that was my favorite)

Ian o on June 06, 2010:

Interesting list but this has to be put into context. A very small percentage of the world's great art comes onto the art market and not many 'old masters' at all, certainly very few of the really greats. For instance, how much would someone pay for the Mona Lisa? $200million, $500million, a billon?

It is partly the limited supply of good art that forces up the price for those who can pay (or are silly enough to pay?) Indeed I can't help thinking that a large proporton of modern paintings achieve greatness not through their inate quality but through their astronomical dollar values. Maybe in 500 or 1000 years time some of these 'great' modern paintings will be downrated and given the status they really deserve, interesting yes, but hardly great works.

Ros Webb from Ireland on December 31, 2009:

I can understanding why these paintings went for so much money ; they are all incredible!!! great hub.

nikki1 on December 04, 2009:

great paintings.

Jackson Riddle from Melbourne on November 19, 2009:

I'm simply astounded at the legacies that artists leave in their paintings.

Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on November 17, 2009:

Amazing. And to think poor Vincent van Gogh died unrecognized and poor. Funny when you look at paintings in books or online. I could never appreciate Jackson Pollack until I saw one of his paintings in person. I went from a Pollack scoffer to a Pollack lover - it was the most incredible painting!

neese on October 15, 2009:

I just Love Monet,s work It is Just the best to me.

Elder DeBorrah K Ogans on October 02, 2009:


Interesting hub!

Art is a language in itself!

How amazing to be able to take a one dimensional surface and create such depth!

Thank you for sharing!


Sylvia Van Velzer from Hawaii on September 04, 2009:

What can i say, it's art! We let it speak, and if we can't understand, it doesn't change anything about the who and the why of it. I just love art! I enjoyed this list very much.

saidarao from visakhapatnam, Andhrapradesh, India on August 15, 2009:

great paintings but i couldn't understand .......y they are getting famous

Larry Conners from Northern Arizona on June 28, 2009:

Thanks for the interesting Hub !!!

I find Van Gogh so interesting, so layered with emotion and unexpected nuance...his portrait of the good Doctor is such an openly personal take on this person with whom he was on such intimate terms...

Laura Spector from Chiang Mai, Thailand on June 17, 2009:

Fun article! Thanks for writing it! I love that Picasso.

suffering fool on June 03, 2009:

I was happily surprised to see no contemporary art here. Like Hirsch or the balloon dog guy or the football player who pretends to do art.

Mike Lickteig from Lawrence KS USA on May 27, 2009:

I became an admirer of Picasso only in the last decade or so, and I would love to own Dora Maar au chat.

SCL from Bristol UK on May 05, 2009:

Great hub thanks. Will be interesting to see how the current economic climate affects the art world. But I guess if you have enough money to buy one of these then you probably won't be affected by the credit crunch!! LOL

Personally if I had the dosh I would go for the

Gustav Klimt - Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer

ratcliffe07 on May 01, 2009:

wow...that's quiet an expensive list. I would love love love to own a Van Gogh painting...It would be amazing to own one!

newsworthy on April 14, 2009:

cool hub to send art lovers to

C.S.Alexis from NW Indiana on March 25, 2009:

This was a great hub, interesting and informative. Thanks for your research.

Julie Grimes on March 22, 2009:

I used to be on hub pages. For what it's worth I love this hub. I never knew art could cost so much. $86 mil. Who knew! I guess they are worth it. Thanks-Julie

WHoArtNow (author) from Leicester, UK on March 16, 2009:

@Paula - Your welcome. I spend all day surrounded by art, nothing worth quite as much as these though!

Paula Andrea, MA from www.mode of cosmic on March 16, 2009:

My favorite artist of all time is Willem De Kooning! Thank you for sharing these works. Art says so much about the person who constructs it. I enjoyed seeing these so much.

WHoArtNow (author) from Leicester, UK on March 15, 2009:

@Andromeda10 - I actually like Franci Bacon paintings, if you have a look at his work, he paints dark and evil images really well, yet still keeps the main feel quite light and open.

Andromeda10 from Chicago on March 15, 2009:

I can't believe so many would put up Francis Bacon, why?

WHoArtNow (author) from Leicester, UK on March 15, 2009:

@Dink96 - Thanks a lot, although I think "beauty is in the eye of the BEERholder" suits some of them better! Yeah I love art too, and although I can't put together something as traditional as these, I can dabble with some (spray) paint!

Dink96 from Phoenix, AZ on March 15, 2009:

Ah, but "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" and that is what makes art so fascinating, ne'st pas?  Wonderful piece of info here.  I love to read about art auctions and yet, at the same time feel some sadness that some of these artists (like Monet, Degas) died paupers.  I hope they somehow know how much joy their art brings to the ages.  THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!  I absolutely LOVE art. Can't necessarily do it myself, but truly appreciate it.

WHoArtNow (author) from Leicester, UK on March 14, 2009:

@ Julie - I would class it as art, but in my personal opinion, there's one or two that could do with being burned, or at least hung in a private gallery!

WHoArtNow (author) from Leicester, UK on March 14, 2009:

@ LG - The monetory value seems to be a little high for some of them

WHoArtNow (author) from Leicester, UK on March 14, 2009:

@Abhishek87 - False Start is one of only a few I like too.

Julie-Ann Amos from Gloucestershire, UK on March 14, 2009:

Great list - I like it a lot and some nice piactures here (and some I'd PAY you to burn) but that's art isn't it? A matter of personal taste?

LondonGirl from London on March 14, 2009:

it's all just conspicous consumption, really. great list, and I like most of them, but wouldn't quite pay that......

Abhishek87 from India on March 14, 2009:

Liked the False start one though I don't think I'll ever understand why paintings that look quite simple to me fetch the maximum :D

WHoArtNow (author) from Leicester, UK on March 13, 2009:

Thanks Alison. Yeah I read a few whilst researching this, and It annoyed me that they missed out some. That's why I wrote this one, to show people there are some very nice (and expensive) pieces of art out there!


Alison on March 13, 2009:

Wow, I've just read another one of these expensive art lists, and it missed out so many of these! Good job. Alison

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