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No. 5, 1948 by Jackson Pollock is currently the most expensive painting ever sold. This is a list of the highest known prices paid for paintings. The earliest sale on the list (Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers by Vincent van Gogh) is from 1987, and more than tripled the previous record price, set only two years before, introducing a new era in top picture prices. The sale was also significant in that for the first time a "modern" painting (in this case from 1888) became the record holder, as opposed to the old master paintings which had always previously held it. Since that time sales of the most valuable paintings have usually been made at auctions, though that had by no means always been the case before, and the list below still shows some "private sales", including the three most expensive. The current record price was paid for a work from No. 5, 1948 by Jackson Pollock sold at US$140 million in 2006, (approx. $150.6 million in CPI-adjusted 2010 US dollars).[1] Contents 1 Background 2 Van Gogh and Picasso 3 List of highest prices paid at auctions or private sales (inflation adjusted) 4 See also 5 Gallery 6 Notes 7 External links // Background The world's most famous paintings, especially old master works done before 1800, are generally owned by museums, which very rarely sell them, and as such, they are quite literally priceless. Guinness World Records lists the Mona Lisa as having the highest insurance value for a painting in history. It was assessed at US$100 million on December 14, 1962, before the painting toured the United States for several months. However, the Louvre chose to spend the money that would have been spent on the insurance premium on security instead. Taking inflation into account, the 1962 value would be approximately US$713 million in 2010. The earliest sale on the list (Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers by Vincent van Gogh) is from 1987, and more than trebled the previous record price, set only two years before, introducing a new era in top picture prices. The sale was also significant in that for the first time a "modern" painting (in this case from 1888) became the record holder, as opposed to the old master paintings which had always previously held it. Currently, there are only three old master paintings on the list below: namely Portrait of a Halberdier by Pontormo sold at US$35.2 million in 1989, Diana and Actaeon by Titian privately sold at £50 million (US$70.6 million) in 2009 and Massacre of the Innocents by Peter Paul Rubens sold at £49.5 million (US$76.7 million) in 2002. Before the March 1987 sale of Van Gogh's Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers for $39.7 million ($76.6 million in 2010 dollars), the highest absolute price paid for a painting was $10.45 million ($21.2 million in 2010 dollars) paid by the J. Paul Getty Museum for Mantegna's Adoration of the Magi at Christie's in London on April 18, 1985.[2] In constant dollars, the highest price paid before 1987 was by the National Gallery of Art when in February 1967 they acquired Leonardo da Vinci's Ginevra de' Benci for around $5 million ($33 million in 2010 dollars) from the Princely Family of Liechtenstein. Van Gogh and Picasso Vincent van Gogh and Pablo Picasso are by far the best represented artists in the list. Whereas Picasso became a wealthy man, Van Gogh sold only one painting in his lifetime, The Red Vineyard, for 400 Francs (about $1600) to the impressionist painter and heiress Anna Boch[3]. His seven paintings in the list below alone were sold for $670 million. List of highest prices paid at auctions or private sales (inflation adjusted) This list is ordered by consumer price index inflation-adjusted value[4] (in bold) in millions of September 2010 United States dollars. Where necessary, the price is first converted to dollars using the exchange rate at the time the painting was sold. The inflation adjustment may change as recent inflation rates are often revised. A list in another currency may be in a slightly different order due to exchange rate fluctuations. Paintings are only listed once, i.e. for the highest price sold. Adjusted price (in millions) Original price (in millions) Painting Artist Year Date of sale Rank at sale Seller Buyer Auction house $151.8 $140 No. 5, 1948 Jackson Pollock 1948 2006-11-02 1 David Geffen Private sale via Sotheby's [5] $149.1 $137.5 Woman III Willem de Kooning 1953 2006-11-18 2 David Geffen Steven A. Cohen Private sale via Larry Gagosian [6] $145.3 $135 Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I Gustav Klimt 1907 2006-06-18 1 Maria Altmann Ronald Lauder, Neue Galerie Private sale via Christie's [7] $139.5 $82.5 Portrait of Dr. Gachet Vincent van Gogh 1890 1990-05-15 1 Siegfried Kramarsky family Ryoei Saito [8] Christie's, New York $132.0 $78.1 Bal du moulin de la Galette[9] Pierre-Auguste Renoir 1876 1990-05-17 2 Betsey Whitney Ryoei Saito [10] Sotheby's, New York $120.3 $104.2 Garçon à la pipe Pablo Picasso 1905 2004-05-04 3 Greentree foundation (Whitney family) Guido Barilla? [11] Sotheby's, New York [12] $106.6 $106.5 Nude, Green Leaves and Bust Pablo Picasso 1932 2010-05-04 7 Frances Lasker Brody estate Christie's, New York [13] $101.7 ++ $58 plus exchange of works[14] Portrait of Joseph Roulin Vincent van Gogh 1889 1989-08-01 1 Private collection, Zürich Museum of Modern Art New York Private sale via Thomas Ammann, Fine Art Zurich[15] $102.7 $95.2 Dora Maar au Chat Pablo Picasso 1941 2006-05-03 4 Gidwitz family Boris Ivanishvili [16] Sotheby's, New York [17] $102.0 $53.9 Irises Vincent van Gogh 1889 1987-11-11 1 son of Joan Whitney Payson Alan Bond [18] Sotheby's, New York $100.9 $100.0 Eight Elvises Andy Warhol 1963 2008-10 10 Annibale Berlingieri Private sale via Philippe Ségalot [19] $95.3 $71.5 Portrait de l'artiste sans barbe Vincent van Gogh 1889 1998-11-19 5 Heirs of Jacques Koerfer Christie's, New York $95.2 $87.9 Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer II Gustav Klimt 1912 2006-11-02 9 Maria Altmann Christie's, New York $93.0 $76.7 (£49.5) Massacre of the Innocents Peter Paul Rubens 1611 2002-07-10 6 an Austrian family Kenneth Thomson [20] Sotheby's, London $87.0 $86.3 Triptych, 1976 Francis Bacon 1976 2008-05-14 13 Moueix Family, Château Pétrus [21] Roman Abramovich [7] Sotheby's, New York [22] $86.6 $80.0 False Start [23] Jasper Johns 1959 2006-10-12 10 David Geffen Kenneth C. Griffin Private sale via Richard Gray $86.3 $57 A Wheatfield with Cypresses Vincent van Gogh 1889 1993-05 5 son of Emil Georg Bührle Walter H. Annenberg [24] Private sale via Steven Mazoh $85.6 $49.3 (F300) Les Noces de Pierrette Pablo Picasso 1905 1989-11-30 3 Fredrik Roos Tomonori Tsurumaki Binoche et Godeau Paris $84.4 $47.85 Yo, Picasso Pablo Picasso 1901 1989-05-09 2 Wendell Cherry Stavros Niarchos Sotheby's, New York $84.0 $80.0 Turquoise Marilyn Andy Warhol 1964 2007-05-20 17 Stefan Edlis Steven A. Cohen Private sale via Larry Gagosian [25] $80.4 $80.5 (£40.9) Le Bassin aux Nymphéas Claude Monet 1919 2008-06-24 19 J. Irwin and Xenia S. Miller Christie's, London [26] $79.5 $60.5 Rideau, Cruchon et Compotier [27] Paul Cézanne 1894 1999-05-10 9 Whitney Family Sotheby's, New York $77.3 $39.7 (£24.75) Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers Vincent van Gogh 1888 1987-03-30 1 daughter-in-law of Chester Beatty Yasuo Goto, Yasuda Comp. Christie's, London $76.5 $72.8 White Center (Yellow, Pink and Lavender on Rose) Mark Rothko 1950 2007-05-15 20 David Rockefeller, Sr. Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani[28] Sotheby's, New York [29] $75.3 $71.7 Green Car Crash (Green Burning Car I) Andy Warhol 1963 2007-05-16 21 Private collection, Zürich Philip Niarchos Christie's, New York [30] $72.7 $70.6 (£50) Diana and Actaeon Titian 1556–1559 2009-02-01 25 Duke of Sutherland National Galleries of Scotland & National Gallery, London Private sale [8] [9] [10] $71.9 $68 The Gross Clinic Thomas Eakins 1875 2007-04-12 20 Thomas Jefferson University Philadelphia Museum of Art Private sale.[31] $70.6 $40.7 Au Lapin Agile Pablo Picasso 1904 1989-11-27 5 daughter of Joan Whitney Payson Walter H. Annenberg Sotheby's, New York $70.0 $38.5 (£20.9) Acrobate et jeune Arlequin [32] Pablo Picasso 1905 1988-11-28 3 heir of Roger Janssen? Mitsukoshi Christie's, London $69.0 $55.0 Femme aux Bras Croisés Pablo Picasso 1902 2000-11-08 13 McCormick family, Chicago Christie's, New York [33] $69.0 $69.0 Nude Sitting on a Divan ("La Belle Romaine") Amadeo Modigliani 1917 2010-11-09 31 Halit Cingillioğlu [34] Sotheby's, New York [35] $68.7 $63.5 Police Gazette Willem de Kooning 1955 2006-10-12 19 David Geffen Steven A. Cohen Private sale via Richard Gray Gallery $65.5 $48.4 Le Rêve [36] Pablo Picasso 1932 1997-11-10 11 Ganz family [11] Wolfgang Flöttl [12] Christie's, New York. $64.6 $47.5 Peasant Woman Against a Background of Wheat Vincent van Gogh 1890 1997 11 Stephen Wynn [37] Private sale via Acquavella Galleries Inc., New York [38] $64.4 $49.6 Femme assise dans un jardin Pablo Picasso 1938 1999-11-10 15 Robert Saidenberg Sotheby's, New York $63.4 $63.4 Men in Her Life Andy Warhol 1962 2010-11-08 35 Jose Mugrabi Phillips de Pury & Company[39] $62.1 $35.2 Portrait of a Halberdier Pontormo 1537 1989-05-31 5 Chauncey Devereaux Stillman Getty Museum Christie's, New York $61.7 $60.0 Suprematist Composition Kazimir Malevich 1916 2008-11-03 34 Heirs of Kazimir Malevich Sotheby's, New York [40] See also Cultural Commodification Gallery No. 5, 1948 (Pollock) Woman III (De Kooning) Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I (Klimt) Portrait of Dr. Gachet (Van Gogh) Bal au moulin de la Galette, Montmartre, (Renoir) Portrait of Joseph Roulin (Van Gogh) Irises (Van Gogh) Portrait de l'artiste sans barbe (Van Gogh) Adele Bloch-Bauer II (Klimt) Massacre of the Innocents (Rubens) A Wheatfield with Cypresses (Van Gogh) (may not be the version sold in 1993) Le Bassin Aux Nymphéas (Monet) Rideau, Cruchon et Compotier (Cézanne) Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers (Van Gogh) Diana and Actaeon (Titian) Peasant Woman Against a Background of Wheat (Van Gogh) Portrait of a Halberdier (Pontormo) Suprematist Composition (Malevich) Notes ^ ^ William Wilson, Getty Pays $10.5 Million For Painting, New York Times, April 19, 1985 ^ The Red Vineyard Painting at ^ Using the U.S. Department Of Labor's CPI-U table, which represents the U.S. city average for all urban consumers. ^ Carol Vogel, A Pollock Is Sold, Possibly for a Record Price, New York Times, November 2, 2006 ^ Carol Vogel, Landmark De Kooning Crowns Collection, New York Times, November 18, 2006 ^ Carol Vogel, Lauder Pays $135 Million, a Record, for a Klimt Portrait, New York Times, June 19, 2006 ^ Reportedly, Gachet's portrait was privately resold to a European buyer in 1997 or 1998 for $65-$90 million through Sotheby’s [1] [2] ^ This is the small version of the painting; the large version is at Musée d'Orsay. ^ Privately resold for ca. $50 million through Sotheby’s in 1997 ^ Claire Foy-Smith, Who buys paintings for $104m?, BBC News Online, 6 May 2004 ^ Lot description and auction details of "Garçon à la pipe" at Sotheby's website. ^ Picasso piece sets record for art sold at auction, Reuters, May 5, 2010 ^ The paintings transferred to the dealers include a late Monet entitled Corona (Water Lilies) from around 1920; Renoir's Reclining Nude of 1902, Kandinsky's Autumn Landscape, Murnau from 1908, and Picasso's Striped Bodice from September 1943. ^ Kimmelman, Michael: How the MoMA got the Van Gogh, New York Times, 09 October 1989. ^ Marc Spiegler, he Hunt for the Red Collector, New York Magazine, 22 August 2006. ^ Lot description and auction details of "Dora Maar au Chat" at Sotheby's website. ^ Alan Bond could not pay off the painting, and Irises was resold (probably for somewhat less) to the Getty Museum. ^ The Pop master's highs and lows, The Economist, 26 November 2009. ^ Later in 2002, Thomson donated his private collection, including the Rubens, to the Art Gallery of Ontario [3] ^ Wine Spectator Online: Unfiltered (21 May 2008). "Château Pétrus Makes a Record-Breaking Sale—of Art".,1197,4396,00.html.  ^ Lot description and auction details of "Triptych, 1976" at Sotheby's website. ^ Most expensive painting by a living artist ^ Annenberg donated it subsequently to the Metropolitan Museum of Art ^ Carol Vogel, Inside Art: Buying a Warhol 'Marilyn', New York Times, 25 May 2007 ^ Lot description and auction details of "Le bassin aux nymphéas" at Christie's website ^ Steve Wynn, who bid on the painting at auction, privately acquired the work several months later from the unidentified buyer for an undisclosed, supposedly lower price. Kenneth Griffin acquired it in 2004 from Wynn [4]. Some news articles, probably by mistake, claim that Griffin was the buyer at Sotheby's in 1999 [5]. ^ Thornton, Sarah; Adam, Georgina (May 4, 2008). "Revealed: $72.8m Rockefeller Rothko has gone to Qatar". The Art Newspaper.  ^ Lot description and auction details of "White Center" at Sotheby's website. ^ Lot description and auction details of "Green Car Crash" at Christie's website ^ Salisbury, Stephan (November 14, 2006), A divisive deal, The Philadelphia Inquirer ^ resold for £12m to Stavros Niarchos in 1993 ^ Lot description and auction details of "Femme aux bras croisés" at Christie's website ^ Kelly Crow, Sotheby's Sells $68.9 Million Modigliani, Wall Street Journal, November 3, 2010 ^ Nu assis sur un divan auction details at Sotheby's ^ In October 2006, Steve Wynn purportedly agreed to sell Le Rêve to Steven Cohen for $139 million, but Wynn accidentally elbowed a hole in the middle of the canvas, thus scuppering the sale. The sale would have made Le Rêve the most expensive painting at the time. ^ On Oct. 7, 2005, The New York Times reported that Steven Cohen bought van Gogh's "Peasant Woman Against a Background of Wheat" and Gauguin's "Bathers" (1903) from Steve Wynn for approximately $110 million [6], though guesses range from $100-150 million. One or both of the paintings may thus occur higher on this list. ^ Carol Vogel, A Gauguin and a van Gogh Change Hands, New York Times, Oct 7, 2005 ^ Carol Vogel, Auction Records Fall at Phillips’s Sale of Contemporary Masters, NY Times, November 10, 2010 ^ Lot description and auction details of "Suprematist Composition" at Sotheby's website. 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