The World’s Most Expensive Art

By Madhavi Pothukuchi

May 20, 2022

The art world can be wonderful, unpredictable and crazy. What one considers priceless art, others would consider garbage, making both opinions valid! Let’s look at some artworks that people have paid fortunes to own. Does their value make sense to you, or are they just undeservingly expensive?

Image source: Alamy

‘Salvator Mundi’ 

The most expensive painting, unsurprisingly, is a portrait by Leonardo Da Vinci. It shows Jesus Christ making the sign of the cross with one hand and holding a clear crystal ball in the other, thus signifying him as ‘Salvator Mundi’ or ‘The Saviour of the World’. It was sold at a New York auction for $450 million in 2017.

Image source: Alamy

This is a recent public art installation in the US. It talks about the burning issue of student debt in America, which is in crisis as most Americans aren’t able to repay their education loans. The installation is made up of 2,600 real college degrees, each valued at $180,000 – the average cost of a college education in the US.

‘Da Vinci of Debt’

Image source: Alamy

This piece of abstract art is one of the most sought-after paintings in the world. American artist Willem de Kooning made it in 1955. It represents a seated woman and is a marker of the abstract expressionism movement in the US. In 2015, it was sold for 300 million dollars.

Image source: Alamy


French artist Paul Gauguin was known for his artwork inspired by Tahiti, a French Polynesian island. He spent many years there, falling in love with its vibrant culture. He painted ‘Nafea Faa Ipoipo’ (When Will You Marry?) in 1892. The painting sold for $210 million dollars in 2015 to an unknown buyer. 

Image source: Alamy

'Nafea Faa Ipoipo’ 

French artist Paul Cezanne painted a series of oil paintings between 1892-1893 called ‘The Card Players’. This painting is part of the series, and depicts two men sitting and playing cards. In 2011, it was sold for a whopping $250 million. 

Image source: Alamy

‘The Card Players’

Standing five feet, 10 inches tall, 'The Pointing Man' is the most famous sculpture of Swiss artist Alberto Giacometti. The bronze statue was cast and hand-painted by him in 1947. It was sold for $141 million in 2015 to a private collector.

Image source: Alamy

'L'homme au Doigt'

Italian sculptor Amedeo Modigliani sculpted this bust, simply called 'Head', out of a single block of limestone. It was sold for $59 million to a private collector in 2010.

Image source: Alamy


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