When artwork is sold at auction, prices can quickly spiral into the millions of pounds, especially for pieces by the world’s most famous and revered artists.
While it is hardly surprising that great art fetches enormous sums when it goes under the hammer, especially as these paintings have normally not come up for sale before or at least not for a long time, the sales prices can be enough to make the average art lover’s eyes water and to murmur the words “How much?”
So prepare to be dazzled by these three paintings, but keep in mind that the prices include the buyer’s premium and that the even more mind-boggling fact is that artwork has fetched yet more than these hefty figures in private sales – The Card Players by Paul Cézanne went for between $250 and $300 million when it was sold privately in 2011!
Edvard Munch’s The Scream – $120million
In May 2012, this became the most expensive artwork sold at auction, after the buyer paid $119,922,500 (£74million) for it.
The auction took place at Sotheby’s in New York and the anonymous buyer snapped it up in 12 minutes. In all, 7 bidders competed for the piece which had a starting price of $40million. This pastel artwork was created in 1895 and is one of four in a series by the Norwegian expressionist artist, and was the only one still privately owned. All four show a figure in a state of agony and shock, set against a vibrant red sky background but each is created in either paint or pastel. The National Gallery, Oslo, holds one of the two painted versions and the Munch Museum holds the other painted version and a pastel version.
Picasso’s Nude, Green Leaves and Bust – $106.5million
This 1932 painting by Pablo Picasso fetched $106,482,500 (£66million) when it went under the hammer at Christie’s in New York in April 2010. There were 8 bidders at the auction house at the time and the winning bid was taken via telephone for $95million.
A painting originally anticipated to fetch $80million at auction, it features Picasso’s mistress Marie-Thérèse Walter and was in the personal collection of Sidney and Frances Brody, Los Angeles art collectors, for almost six decades before it was sold at auction. It was bought by the Brodys in 1951 from Picasso’s dealer and only publicly exhibited once in 1961 to celebrate Picasso’s 80th birthday. Nude, Green Leaves and Bust is one of a series of portraits painted of Picasso’s mistress. The canvas stands at more than 5 feet tall and is currently on display at Tate Britain in London.
Alberto Giacometti’s L’homme Qui Marche – £65million
The bronze sculpture L’homme Qui Marche (Walking Man) sold at Sotheby’s in London in January 2010 for £65,001,250 ($105,001,250).
Predicated to go for between £12 and £18million, it took just 8 minutes of bidding before the winning bid was received by telephone for £58million.
Sculpted in 1961, five years before Giacometti’s death, the life-size figure depicts a lone man walking and is described as a “potent symbol of humanity”.
- License: Creative Commons image source
The Enid Hutt Gallery retail some of the finest contemporary paintings including art by Jack Vettriano