Marijn Kruijff
2 min

The 10 Most Expensive Artworks Ever (Who Is the Number One?)

2 min

“There’s more money than good art”, as the German art dealer Hans Mayer once said. The value of good art has been on the rise for centuries. Since I have started to sell shunga I have seen a vast increase in price over the last 15 years and it’s not difficult to predict it will continue to do so as the list below underlines.

By the way, all the artists below are greatly indebted to the 18th and 19th-century Japanese artists such as Hokusai, Utamaro, Harunobu, Kunisada, Keisai Eisen and their ukiyo-e colleagues.

The following are the ten highest prizes ever paid for artworks:

10) 138 Million dollar: Willem de Kooning, ‘Woman III’, 1953

'Woman 3' by Pablo Picasso

Woman 3‘ (1953) by Pablo Picasso

9) 165 Million dollar: Jackson Pollock, ‘Nr.5’, 1948

Jackson Pollock - No.5

No.5‘ (1948) by Jackson Pollock

8) 170 Million dollar: Amedeo Modigliani, ‘Nu couché’, 1917/18

'Nu couché (19..) by Modigliani

Nu couché‘ (1917/18) by Amedeo Modigliani

7) 179 Million dollar: Pablo Picasso, ‘Les femmes d’Alger’, 1955

'Les femmes d'Alger (19..) by Pablo Picasso

Les femmes d’Alger‘ (1955) by Pablo Picasso

6) 180 Million dollar: Rembrandt, portraits of Maerten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppit, 1634

Portraits by Rembrandt

Portraits of Maerten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppit‘ (1634) by Rembrandt van Rijn

5) 186 Million dollar: Mark Rothko, ‘Nr.6 (violet, green and red)’, 1951

No.6 - Mark Rothko

No.6‘ (1951) by Mark Rothko

4) 200 Million dollar: Jackson Pollock, ‘Number 17A’, 1948

'Number 17A' (19..) by Jackson Pollock

Number 17A‘ (1948) by Jackson Pollock

3) 260 Million dollar: Paul Cézanne, ‘The Cardplayers’, 1892/93


The Cardplayers‘ (1892/93) by Paul Cézanne

2) 300 Million dollar: Paul Gauguin, ‘Nafea Faa Ipoipo’, 1892

'Nafea Faa Ipoipo' (18..) by Paul Gauguin

Nafea Faa Ipoipo‘ (1892) by Paul Gauguin

1) 300 Million dollar: Willem de Kooning, ‘Interchange’, 1955

'Interchange' by Willem de Kooning

Interchange‘ (1955) by Willem de Kooning

Willem de Kooning opens and ends the list.   I recently obtained a rather unique picture of him in his studio in 1988. It has a rather amusing anecdote on how the picture was taken by the infamous Paul Blanca (1958). You can read it HERE !