A masterpiece of this magnitude is practically hard to value; yet, the Mona Lisa was insured for $100 million in 1962, the largest at the time. That would be over $700 million in today's money, quickly making it the most costly artwork.
In the fall of 2015, Ken Griffin, a billionaire hedge fund investor, paid $500 million for two paintings from David Geffen, a successful business entrepreneur who wears many hats, from producer to film studio CEO. Willem de Kooning's 1955 picture Interchange was among those included. According to reports, the price of this single abstract expressionist artwork was $300 million USD.
The artwork depicts two ladies seated in a bright landscape of gold, green, and blue, sold privately in 2015 for roughly $300 million, tying it with Interchange as the most expensive piece ever sold. While the buyer has not been confirmed, many in the art world assume it is now in the hands of the Qatar royal family.
Art enthusiasts worldwide were shocked to hear in 2012 that this specific edition had been secretly sold the previous year, in 2011, for more than $250 million - almost $269 million in today's money. It was the most expensive artwork ever sold at the time. While the previous piece has not been proven to be owned by Qatar's royal family, this artwork has been confirmed to be in their possession.
Remember Ken Griffin's incredible $500 million purchase of two paintings from David Geffen's collection? The second picture, Number 17A by abstract expressionist artist Jackson Pollock, was acquired for an equally impressive $200. This unique drip painting was created in 1948 and had a variety of vivid hues, such as yellow, red, orange, blue, and some white and black, thrown around. Visitors may view this one, like Interchange, in person at the Art Institute of Chicago.
The abstract work No. 6 (Violet, Green, and Red) by Russian-American painter Mark Rothko was privately sold in 2014 for $186 million, setting a record high for the artist while also making it one of the most expensive paintings ever. Rothko's painting was sold to Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev by art dealer Yves Bouvier, known for his canvases with vibrantly colored rectangular forms.
Rembrandt's Portrait of Marten Soolmans and Portrait of Oopjen Coppit, both painted in 1634, were acquired as a pair for $180. Because they were a pair, it was only natural that they should always be shown together, and when the Rothschild family chose to sell these seldom-seen paintings, two museums stepped up to buy them.
Les Femmes D’Alger (Version ‘O’) — Pablo Picasso
Nu couché, or Reclining Nude, was created by Italian artist Amedeo Modigliani in 1917-18 and is one of the most expensive paintings ever. The painting, which depicts a naked lady resting against a primarily dark red backdrop, sold for $170.4 million on November 9, 2015, above the expectation of $100 million. Millionaire Lui Yiqian owns this piece, a former cab driver who created two private museums in Shanghai and allegedly paid for them using an American Express Card.
Organic lines with drops of various colors of red, yellow, blue, and grey paint - No. 5, 1948 is a famous Pollock drip painting. Another painting initially in the private collection of business billionaire David Geffen was auctioned in November 2006 for $140 million (about $164 million now). While various accounts claim that the painting was purchased by the highly private Mexican businessman David Martinez from Geffen, Martinez's side and art industry specialists have rejected this.