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The Most Expensive Paintings Ever Sold

Updated March 17, 2021 35.1k views26 items

"You can either buy clothes or buy pictures," Gertrude Stein told Ernest Hemingway, according to his memoir A Moveable Feast. And if you purchased one of the most expensive paintings ever sold, it's a solid bet you bought a picture of a woman without clothes. Yes, undressed women are the subject of several of the most valuable paintings here, along with card players; a wealthy Amsterdam couple; the American flag; colors; and Jesus sporting long, curly hair. 

A variety of artists are represented, living and passed on, including Pablo Picasso (with a whopping five paintings on the list), Jasper Johns, and Claude Monet - whose painting here is not even one of his most popular. Every one of the paintings on this list cost more than $100 million. That's a lot of clothes. But fine art is priceless, right?

  • 'Salvator Mundi' By Leonardo da Vinci 

    Photo: Leonardo da Vinci / Wikipedia / Public Domain
    Salvator Mundi is a painting of Christ as Salvator Mundi recently attributed to Leonardo da Vinci, who is known to have painted the subject. It was lost and later rediscovered, and restored and exhibited in 2011. The painting shows Christ, in Renaissance garb, giving a benediction with his raised right hand and crossed fingers while holding a crystal sphere in his left hand....  more
    • Artist: Leonardo da Vinci
    • Art Form: Painting
  • 'Interchange' By Willem de Kooning  

    Photo: Willem de Kooning / Wikipedia / Fair Use
    • Photo: Paul Cézanne / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain
      The Card Players (c. 1892-1893) is one in a series of five paintings of card players by French artist Paul Cézanne....  more
      • Artist: Paul Cézanne
      • Genres (Art): Genre art
      • Art Form: Painting
      • Period / Movement: Post-Impressionism
    • 'Nafea Faa Ipoipo?' / 'When Will You Marry?' By Paul Gauguin 

      Photo: Paul Gauguin / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain
      When Will You Marry? is an oil painting from 1892 by the French Post-Impressionist artist Paul Gauguin. On loan to the Kunstmuseum in Basel, Switzerland for nearly a half-century, it was sold privately by the family of Rudolf Staechelin to an unknown buyer, reportedly to Qatar Museums, in February 2015 for close to $300m, the highest price ever paid for a work of art. The painting is on exhibition at the Fondation Beyeler, Riehen, until 28 June 2015....  more
      • Artist: Paul Gauguin
      • Art Form: Painting
      • Period / Movement: Post-Impressionism