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Top 10 Most Expensive Pieces of Art Ever Sold in the World

Thursday, September 22nd 2011. | Collectibles

Rich man paid $104.3 million for six-foot tall sculpture by Alberto Giacometti, making it the most expensive piece of art ever sold. Following that news, good and graphic-design firm Karlssonwilker created an infographic of the ten most expensive pieces of art of all time. Below is 10 most expensive pieces of art ever sold in the world:

 

10. White Center (Yellow, Pink, and Lavender on Rose) by Mark Rothko–$72.8 million

White Center (Yellow, Pink, and Lavender on Rose) by Mark Rothko

White Center (Yellow, Pink, and Lavender on Rose) by Mark Rothko

White Center is part of Rothko’s signature multiform style: several blocks of layered, complementary colors on a large canvas. The painting is from top to bottom, a yellow horizontal rectangle, a black horizontal strip, a narrow white rectangular band and the bottom half is lavender. The top half of the rose ground is deeper in colour and the bottom half is pale. It measures 205.8 x 141 cms.

 

9. Massacre of the Innocents by Peter Paul Rubens–$75.9 million

Massacre of the Innocents

Massacre of the Innocents

The first version painted by Rubens dates from around 1611–12. In the seventeenth-century , the painting was part of the Liechtenstein Collection in Vienna, Austria, along with another Rubens’ masterpiece, Samson and Delilah. After having been miscatalogued by Vincenzio Fanti in 1767, it was attributed to one of Rubens’ assistants, Jan van den Hoecke, after Rubens. There, however, it remained until it was sold to an Austrian family in 1920. It was subsequently loaned in 1923 to Stift Reichersberg, a monastery in northern Austria.

 

8. Le Moulin de la Galette by Pierre-Auguste Renoir–$78.1 million

Le Moulin de la Galette by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Le Moulin de la Galette by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Bal du moulin de la Galette (commonly known as Dance at Le moulin de la Galette) is an 1876 painting by French artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir. It is housed at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris and is one of Impressionism’s most celebrated masterpieces. The painting depicts a typical Sunday afternoon at Moulin de la Galette in the district of Montmartre in Paris. In the late 19th century, working class Parisians would dress up and spend time there dancing, drinking, and eating galettes into the evening.

 

7. Water Lily Pond by Claude Monet–$80.4 million

Monet Waterlily pond

Monet Waterlily pond

Water Lilies is a series of approximately 250 oil paintings by French Impressionist Claude Monet (1840–1926). The paintings depict Monet’s flower garden at Giverny and were the main focus of Monet’s artistic production during the last thirty years of his life. Many of the works were painted while Monet suffered from cataracts.

 

6. Portrait du Dr Gachet by Vincent van Gogh–$82.5 million

Portrait of Dr. Gachet

Portrait of Dr. Gachet

Portrait of Dr. Gachet is one of the most revered paintings by Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh. It depicts Dr. Paul Gachet, who took care of him during the final months of his life. It was the only portrait painted by van Gogh during his stay at the doctor’s home in Auvers-sur-Oise (27.2 km outside Paris), a 70 day period from May to July 1890. In 1990, it fetched a then-record price of $82.5 million ($75 million, plus a 10 percent buyer’s commission) when sold at auction in New York.

 

5. Triptych, 1976 by Francis Bacon–$86.3 million

Triptych

Triptych

Triptych, May–June 1973 is a triptych completed in 1973 by the Irish-born artist Francis Bacon (1909–1992). The oil-on-canvas was painted in memory of Bacon’s lover George Dyer who committed suicide on the eve of the artist’s retrospective at Paris’s Grand Palais, on 24 October 1971. The triptych is a portrait of the moments before Dyer’s death from an overdose of pills in their hotel room. Bacon was preoccupied by Dyer’s loss in his last twenty years, and painted many works on the event and its aftermath. He admitted to friends that he never fully recovered from the event, and described painting the triptych as an exorcism of his feelings of loss and guilt.

 

4. Adele Bloch Bauer II by Gustav Klimt–$88 million

Adele Bloch-Bauer II

Adele Bloch-Bauer II

Adele Bloch-Bauer II is a 1912 painting by Gustav Klimt. Adele Bloch-Bauer was the wife of Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer, who was a wealthy industrialist who sponsored the arts and supported Gustav Klimt. Adele Bloch-Bauer was the only model to be painted twice by Klimt; she also appeared in the much more famous Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I. Both portraits of Adele Bloch-Bauer were part of a protracted court battle in the United States and in Austria (see Republic of Austria v. Altmann) which resulted in five Gustav Klimt paintings being returned to Maria Altmann, the niece of Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer, in January 2006. In November 2006, Christie’s auction house sold “Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer II” at auction for $88 million, the third-highest priced piece of art at auction at the time.

 

3. Dora Maar with Cat by Pablo Picasso–$95.2 million

Dora Maar au Chat

Dora Maar au Chat

Dora Maar au Chat (Dora Maar with Cat) is a 1941 painting by Pablo Picasso. It depicts Dora Maar, the painter’s lover, seated on a chair with a small cat perched on her shoulders. This work is one of the world’s most expensive paintings. Dora Maar au Chat presents the artist’s most mysterious and challenging mistress regally posed three-quarter length in a large wooden chair with a small black cat perched behind her in both an amusing and menacing attitude. The faceted planes of her body and richly layered surface of brushstrokes impart a monumental and sculptural quality to this portrait. The painting is also remarkable for its brilliance of colour and the complex and dense patterning of the model’s dress.
 

2. Boy with a Pipe by Pablo Picasso–$104.1 million

Boy with a Pipe

Boy with a Pipe

Garçon à la Pipe (English: Boy with a Pipe) is a painting by Pablo Picasso. It was painted in 1905 when Picasso was 24 years old, during his Rose Period, soon after he settled in the Montmartre section of Paris, France. The oil on canvas painting depicts a Parisian boy holding a pipe in his left hand and wearing a garland or wreath of flowers.

 

1. Walking Man I by Alberto Giacommeti–$104.3 million

Alberto Giacometti - Walking Man 1, 1960

Alberto Giacometti - Walking Man 1, 1960

Walking Man I by Alberto Giacommeti is the most expensive pieces of art. French lithographer and publisher Aimé Maeght (1906-1981) and his wife, Marguerite (1909-1977), opened a Parisian art gallery in December of 1945 with the backing of their great friends artists Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947) and Henri Matisse (1869-1954). These established artists attracted others (along with many newcomers seeking representation), Aimé’s background set a new standard for exhibition catalogues and livres d’artiste, the gallery-artist-public relationship was forever redefined and the Maeghts’ place in art history was firmly established.



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