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Five most expensive art pieces
Recently, world-famous auction house Christie’s held an auction at the Emirates Towers in Dubai, selling off some truly prized art pieces and collections at monumental prices. The bidding was fierce, the pieces were beautiful, and some pieces fetched up to $100,000 (Dh367,000), making it a hugely successful auction.
But even though these prices were unimaginable for mere mortals to afford, they by no means represented what it is possible to spend on prized pieces of art. Over the decades, pieces have gone for millions, tens of millions, and even 100s of millions, either in private sales or else in fierce battles at auctions. We bring you the five most expensive art pieces ever sold.
5: Portrait of Dr. Gachet by Vincent van Gogh
One of the most revered paintings by the famous Dutch artist, this piece from 1890 was sold at a 1990 Christie’s auction for what was, at the time, a record amount. The man in the portrait, Dr. Gachet, took care of the artist during the final months of his life, making it an extremely poignant and evocative work. No wonder, then, that it sold for a whopping $82.5 million (Dh303 million), which, adjusting for inflation, is around $144.1 million (Dh529.2 million) in today’s money. There are actually two paintings, both done in the same year, though they differ greatly in colour and style.
4: Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I by Gustav Klimt
This highly lauded painting by the famous Austrian artist, Gustav Klimt, took three years to complete, and was finished in 1907. It is made up of oil and gold on canvas and featured elaborate and complex ornamentation. When it was sold in 2006 to Ronald Lauder for his Neue Galerie in New York, it fetched what was then a record $135 million (Dh495.8 million), which works out as about $150.2 million (Dh551.6 million) today.
3: Woman III by Willem de Kooning
Painted by the abstract expressionist painter in 1953 as part of a series, this lived in the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art from the late 1970s until 1994. However, after the Iranian Revolution, it could not be shown because of strict rules set on the arts. It was quietly traded in 1994 in exchange for the remainder of a sixteenth-century Persian manuscript, and was eventually sold in 2006 to billionaire Steven A. Cohen for $137.5 million (Dh504.9 million), knocking the Gustav Klimt painting off of the top spot of most expensive piece ever sold to date. In today’s money, it was sold for $154 million (Dh565.5 million).
2: No. 5, 1948 by Jackson Pollock
Pollock was widely credited with greatly contributing to the abstract expressionist movement in modern art, and none his works illustrate this better than No. 5, 1948. It was originally displayed at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, before being sold to record producer David Geffen. Eventually, Geffen sold it off via Sotheby’s in 2006, raising $140 million (Dh514.1 million). Adjusting for inflation, that’s $156.8 million (Dh575.8 million) in today’s money.
1: The Card Players by Paul Cezanne
While the previous paintings fetched frankly biblical amounts of money, this series by French artist Paul Cezanne puts them all to shame. Painted from 1892 to 1893, the series fetched more than $250 million (Dh918 million) in a private sale to the Royal Family of Qatar in 2011, making it the most expensive painting ever sold.
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