Top 10 most expensive paintings ever sold

Fancy investing in some art? $100 million won’t even get you the first painting on this list.

EDGAR staff November 30, 2014

One of Claude Monet's water lilies paintings sold for £32 million - around AED 200 million - at auction earlier this year. It was the second highest price ever paid for the artist at auction.

Think that's expensive? Compared to the artworks on this list, that's just pocket change.


10. $105.4 million - Andy Warhol's Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster) carcrash Purchased by an unknown buyer in November 2013 at an auction in New York, this is Pop Art legend Andy Warhol's most expensive artwork to date.


9. $106.5 million - Pablo Picasso's Nude, Green Leaves and Bust

Picasonude The most expensive of Picasso's works ever to be sold at auction, this was sold at a Christie's New York event in May 2010. Again, the buyer chose to remain anonymous.


8. $110 million - Jasper Johns' Flag Jasper Johns FlagsThe first of many private sales in this top 10, this work by American artist Johns was bought in 2010 by hedge find billionaire Steven Cohen, who also owns two other more expensive paintings on this list.


7. $119.9 million - Edvard Munch's The Scream scream When it was bought at Sotheby’s New York in May 2012 this was the most expensive painting ever sold at auction, although it's since been surpassed. The buyer? Nobody knows.


6. $135 million - Gustav Klimt's Adele Bloch-bauer I adele With a reported $3.8 billion fortune, American businessman Ronald Lauder decided to stump up the cash for this Austrian masterpiece in 2006 and it now sits proudly on display in the Neue Gallery, New York.


5. $137.5 million - Willem De Kooning's Woman III willem This masterpiece was sold in 2006 by David Geffen, the executive producer of 1989-1991 TV show Beetlejuice, to that man again, hedge fund billionaire Steven Cohen.


4. $140 million - Jackson Pollock's Number 5 pollack Maybe 2006 was a lean year for David Geffen, because he also sold this astronomically expensive contemporary artwork to an unknown buyer, rumored to be Mexican businessman David Martinez.


3. $142.4 million - Francis Bacon's Three Studies of Lucian Freud Francis Bacon Sold at a Christie's auction in New York last year to an unknown buyer - since identified as Qatari Royal Sheikha Mayassa - this is  the most expensive painting ever sold at auction.


2. $155 million: Pablo Picasso's Le Rêve lereve This is the most expensive of legendary artist Picasso's entrants on this list, and it's also Steven Cohen's most expensive artistic asset. Bought in 2013 from fellow American business magnate Steve Wynn, this takes Cohen's tally to three of the top 10 most expensive paintings.


1. $250 million: Paul Cézanne's The Card Players paulcezanne A massive $95 million more expensive than any other painting in the world, The Card Players was sold by Greek shipping magnate George Embiricos to the Royal Family of Qatar in 2011. Good business, George.