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The Most Expensive and Famous Paintings Ever Sold

Eminent painters earn vast fortunes by selling their artworks at auctions, exhibitions, or private sales. Those who buy such artworks are usually billionaires who have no qualms about shelling out a fortune to get these rare paintings. The art museums add creations from Warhol or Picasso to allure the crowds. Mona Lisa, the world-famous painting by Leonardo Da Vinci, is priceless, and there’s no accurate estimation of the painting’s cost. However, there are a host of masterpieces which sell at a sky-high price. The following list has the price tags of some of the most expensive and famous painting ever sold.

Salvator Mundi

The painting of Jesus Christ with a crystal orb in his hands is the most expensive painting ever sold. You would come across a few pictures from Leonardo Da Vinci that art historians consider as genuine. This one is undoubtedly one among them. Salvator Mundi or Savior of the World, was the only creation of the maestro. The painting was in Leonardo da Vinci’s private collection while all his other works are either in churches or museums.

Christie sold the painting through a New York auction to Mohammed bin Salman. The auction price for this painting was a whopping $450.3 million in the year 2017. The purchase was on behalf of the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture & Tourism. This brilliant piece of art will soon be on display at the Louvre Abu Dhabi.


This one is possibly the most expensive contemporary piece of art ever sold. The abstract-expressionist painting is one of Willem de Kooning’s most famous works. Art connoisseurs believe the picture draws inspiration from the artist’s surroundings during his days in New York City. Kenneth C. Griffin, a hedge-fund billionaire, spent $300 million to get his hands on this painting from the David Geffen Foundation. It came in a $500 million package, which also included a $200 million Number 17A by Jackson Pollock. If you want to feast your eyes on it, pay a visit to the Art Institute of Chicago.

Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I

This is a portrait of the wife of a Jewish banker. It is one of the top-notch creations by Gustav Klimt, the famous Austrian symbolist. It dates back to 1907. The painting is now with Ronald Lauder, a billionaire who spent around $135 million to get this masterpiece through a private sale in the year 2006.

Lauder is the co-founder of the Neue Galerie in New York, and this where the art is on display. There is one more portrait of Bloch-Bauer, and there are some interesting stories on these paintings that you can surf through.

The Scream

The Scream happens to be one of the most iconic creations in art history and could very well claim its position at the top of the list. This piece of art depicts several Screams that only an individual with an eye for art can decipher. The Norwegian title is famous as Skrik, and the creator, Edvard Munch, came up with four different versions of it. The oil painting from 1893 is the most remarkable creation of the series and is on display at the National Gallery in Norway. Leon Black, a billionaire financier, took a more colorful version home for a price of almost $119.9 million back in the year 2012.


The spray and oil stick creation of a skull was a work of art by the graffiti artist named Jean-Michel Basquiat. This was sold for $110.5 million via an auction at the Sotheby’s. The painting got the highest price ever for an artwork made after the 1980s. Basquiat rose from making spray painting on Manhattan walls and went on to collaborate with iconic painters like Andy Warhol.

From dating the Queen of Pop, Madonna to having his work displayed in several museums and galleries, Basquiat had some amazing times. However, he breathed his last in 1988. His legacy lives on through one of his works. Yusaku Maezawa, a billionaire from Japan, now owns this painting. In case you are on the hunt for other Basquiat creations, you can find them on display at the Broad Museum in Los Angeles.

All these paintings have jaw-dropping prices, something that most of us can only dream about buying. There are several other artworks outside this list, which billionaires from various corners of the world possess. Most of these works of art are on public display, along with the information on their auction price. So, make sure you check them out when you’re traveling as your next holiday destination might have one of these on display!

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