25 Of The Most Ridiculously Expensive Paintings In History

Posted by , Updated on January 19, 2024

The most expensive paintings in the world are usually housed in the galleries and museums of Europe and the United States. These paintings are so valuable that art enthusiasts are willing to spend millions when they get auctioned off. More often than not, the value of a painting depends on its age and the artist behind it. Some paintings may look too ordinary for the eyes but cost millions just because they are painted by world-renowned artists like Vincent Van Gogh or Pablo Picasso. Here is a list of the 25 most ridiculously expensive arts and paintings in history:



Acrobat and Young Harlequin


With an original price of $38.5 million, this Pablo Picasso painting was sold at $69.4 million. Painted in 1905, the painting was first featured in Action: Cahsiers Individualistes De Philosophie at Princeton University in 1923 and was sold by the Heir of Roger Janssen to Miitsukoshi in 1988. It is now in the public domain in America.


Au Lapin Agile


The Au Lapin Agile was painted in 1904 by Pablo Picasso and was sold in 1989 by the daughter of Joan Whitney Payson to Walter H. Annenberg for and adjusted price of $70 million. The auction took place on November 27, 1989 in Sotheby’s, New York.


Diana and Actaeon


This painting by Titian, an Italian Renaissance master, was completed between 1556 and 1559 and is widely considered among his greatest masterpieces. It depicts the moment when the goddess Diana met Actaeon. In 2009, the Duke of Sutherland conferred this painting to the National Galleries of Scotland & National Gallery in London. Its value is $70.6 million.


Green Car Crash (Green Burning Car I)


Painted by Andy Warhol in 1963, this painting was sold in May 16, 2007 to Philip Niarchos. More commonly known as the Green Burning Car I, the Green Car Crash painting was original valued at $71.7 million but was sold for $73.7 million. The auction was held at Christie’s, New York.


Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers


Vase with Fifteen Flowers depicts bouquets of sunflowers placed in a vase. Painted by Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh in 1888, this painting is the second painting he executed with sunflowers as the subject. It was sold by the daughter in law of Chester Beatty to Yasuo Goto in 1987 for $ 74.5 million which was almost double its original price of $39 million.


White Center (Yellow, Pink and Lavender on Rose)

Slide20Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers

From its original price of $72.8 million, this painting by Mark Rothko was sold by David Rockefeller in 2007 to the Royal Family of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa At-Thani for $74.9 million. This abstract painting was completed in 1950 and is considered part of the painter’s signature multiform painting style.


Curtain, Jug and Fruitbowl

Slide19 Curtain, Jug and Fruit Bowl - Paul Cezanne's oil painting www.opaintings.com

Painted by Paul Cezanne in 1894, this painting was auctioned off on May 10, 1999 at Sotheby’s, New York. Though it is more commonly known as Curtain, Jug and Fruitbowl, its original name was Rideau, Cruchon et Compotier. It was sold by the Whitney Family for an adjusted price of $77.4 million to an unknown buyer.


Water Lily Pond


The Le Bassin aux Nympheas or Water Lily Pond was painted in 1919 by French impressionist painter Claude Monet but it was only put on the auction block on June 4, 2008. This oil canvas painting was sold to J. Irrwin and Xenia S. Miller at Sotheby’s New York for an adjusted price of $79.7 million.


Self Portrait of Picasso


Yo, Picasso was sold for $47.9 million on May 9, 1989 by Wendell Cherry to Stavros Niachros at Sotheby’s New York. This painting was painted in 1901 and portrays the image of the painter himself. It ranked as the second most in-demand painting on the day it was auctioned and has an adjusted value of $90.5 million.


A Wheatfield with Cypresses


Part of the Wheat Field Series, Vincent Van Gogh executed this painting in 1889 at the Saint Paul De Mausole mental asylum in Arles, France (where Gogh was temporarily a patient). In 1993, it was sold by the son of Emil Georg Bührle to Walter H. Anneberg for $84.1 million.


False Start


False Start is a painting by Jasper Johns that was put on a private bidding via Richard Gray on October 12, 2006. It was completed in 1959 and was sold by David Geffen to Kenneth C. Griffin for $84.6 million, which was $4.6 million higher than its original price of $80 million.


The Marriage of Pierrette


Les Noces de Pierrette, more commonly known as The Marriage of Pierrette, was completed in 1905 during the artist’s “Blue Period” (a time when Picasso faced poverty and depression following the suicide of his friend Carlos Casagemas in 1901). In 1907, it was acquired by an art dealer named Josef Stansky, but between 1945 and 1962, it was owned by Picasso’s son, Paulo Picasso. It was sold by Fredrik Roos to Tomonori Tsurumaki for $84.8 million in 1989.


Triptych, 1976


Painted by Francis Bacon in 1976, Triptych was an oil and pastel canvas painting that was divided into three parts each measuring 78 x 58 in. It was auctioned off on May 14, 2008 at Sotheby’s London, where the Moueix Family sold the painting to Roman Abramovich for $85.5 million.


Portrait of Adele Block Bauer II


Painted by Gustav Klimt in 1912, this was the second painting that Klimt completed with Adele Block Bauer, the wife of Ferdinand Block Bauer, as his subject. This painting was put on the auction block at Christie’s auction house and was sold for almost $88 million.


Portrait of Vincent Van Gogh


One of a dozen of self-portraits made by Vincent Van Gogh this was the only one that survived. Completed in 1886, it depicts the face of the artist as it appeared in a mirror (which he used to reproduce his face) and was sold for $93.5 million.


Dora Maar with Cat


Dora Maar with Cat, also known as the Dora Maar au Chat, was painted by Pablo Picasso in 1941. This painting portrays the lover of the painter named Dora Maar, seated on a chair while holding a baby cat on her shoulders. Only measuring 50.5” by 37.5″ the painting was sold for $95,216,000 in 2006.


Massacre of the Innocents


The Massacre of the Innocents was painted by Peter Paul Rubens and portrays the Massacre of the Innocents of Bethlehem in the Book of Matthew of the Holy Bible. It was completed in 1611 and was auctioned off on July 10, 2002 at Sotheby’s London, where an Austrian family sold it to Kenneth Thomson for $99.7 million.




This Vincent Van Gogh painting was completed in 1889 and was sold for $101.2 million by the son of Joan Whitney Payson to Alan Bond in an auction held at Sotheby’s New York on November 11, 1987. Van Gogh painted this masterpiece while he was confined in an asylum in France.


Portrait of Joseph Roulin


Another painting by Vincent Van Gogh, the Portrait of Joseph Roulin was completed in 1889 and was sold to the Museum of Modern Art in New York for over $111 million (more than double its original price of $58 million).


Boy with a Pipe


Painted by Pablo Picasso in 1905, Boy with a Pipe or Garçon à la pipe was completed during the Rose Period of Picasso while he was in Paris, France and depicts a Persian lad wearing a garland and holding a pipe. It was sold by the Greentree Foundation or Whitney Family in 2004 for $104 million and currently has an estimated value of $129 million.


Dance at Le Moulin de la Galette


Also known as the Bal Du Moulin de Galette, Dance at Le Moulin de la Galette was painted by French artist Pierre Auguste Renoir in 1876,has an estimated worth of $141.5 million, and is currently housed at the Musee de Orsay located in Paris. This widely celebrated impressionist painting was sold by Betsey Whitney to Ryoei Saito in 1990.


Portrait of Dr. Gachet


Made by Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh, the Portrait of Dr. Gachet portrays the doctor during the last months of Van Gogh’s life. The masterpiece was completed in 1890 at Auvers and was auctioned off for $82.5 million. Currently, it holds an adjusted value of $149.5 million.


Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I


This 1907 painting by Gustav Klimt was one of two portraits he made with Adele Bloch Bauer as the subject. Considered one of his greatest masterpieces, this painting was sold to Ronald Lauder for $135 million in an auction held in New York City in June 2006, making it the most expensive painting in the world for a period of four months. Currently, it holds an adjusted value of $155.8 million.


Woman III


Woman III was painted by abstract expressionist artist Willem de Kooning and was one of six paintings he finished between 1951 and 1953. For two decades, this was part of the Tehram Museum of Contemporary Art Collection but in 2006, it was sold to Steven Cohen for $137.5 million and currently holds an adjusted value of $159.8 million.


No. 5, 1948


This painting by Jayson Pollock was completed in 1948 and was bought by David Martinez from David Geffen for $140 million in an auction held in New York City on November 2, 2006. It currently holds an adjusted value of $162.7 million.