The art world is well known for being a playground for the rich and famous; those collectors that are able to fork out countless thousands in order to take home a piece that speaks to them. But even among this elite group, there are a handful of collectors that are so wealthy that they’re able to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to secure a particularly rare piece. Here we will look at the most expensive works of art of all time, why they’re so rare, and how much they ultimately sold for at auction.
Jackson Pollock is an internationally famous artist who is most well-known for his unique works, many of which have become some of the most valuable art of all time. Number 17A is a piece of his that he created in 1948 and went on to eventually be sold for a massive $500 million in 2015 to Kenneth Griffin, a hedge fund manager. Griffin has kept the piece as part of his private collection, meaning that it’s not available for the public to view, but there are many others that are open to the general public at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
The Card Players
As one of the most valuable paintings ever created, “The Card Players” is a unique piece that was put to canvas by Paul Cezanne, a master of his craft that was most active in the late 19th century. The Card Players is just one of five that are part of a series of the same name, and in 2011 the piece was bought by the Royal Family of Qatar, with speculation that the family spent double on the work than even the most expensive record in the auction world.
Interchange is a painting by Willem de Kooning and was finished in 1955 to critical acclaim. De Kooning has said that he was inspired by his surroundings while living in New York City. It’s considered to be the second most expensive saving ever sold at auction, and was bought by billionaire Kenneth C Griffin, as part of the same deal that saw him get the Number 17A art as well. It was a purchase that cost him $500 million, the kind of money usually found through epic betting games; but the pieces are undoubtedly priceless.
It’s little surprise that the world’s most valuable painting is one done by arguably the greatest artist of all time, Leonard da Vinci. The piece depicts Jesus Christ holding an orb and was originally commissioned by King Louis XII who ruled France during the early 17th century. The painting was commissioned during the same period that da Vinci was working on his much more popular Mona Lisa.
Salvator Mundi disappeared at some point for over a 100 years before it was found again by British art dealers in 2005, and they spent almost a decade restoring the painting and researching it before realising that they had an original from the Italian master. The painting was bought by Mohammed bin Salman, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, who purchased it on behalf of the Abu Dhabi department.