The subject of many parodies, Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” was recently auctioned by Sotheby’s in New York. This particular painting is only one of four version, considered one of the best, that was painted by Munch around 1895. Art experts had anticipated a price of about $80 million, but the auction ended in about 12 minutes with a final of $119.9 million by an anonymous bidder. With that staggering price, the painting breaks into the list of the top ten most expensive paintings.
When asked “what is the most expensive painting in the world?’ most people either respond with Vincent van Gogh’s “Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers” or Leonardo da Vinci’s iconic “Mona Lisa.” Only the latter answer is correct. The Mona Lisa has been valued at $100 million but when you take into account inflation, the current value is about $740 million. No wonder she is smiling.
Because Van Gogh and Pablo Picasso were very prolific painters — Van Gogh produced more than 2,100 works of art; Picasso more than 13,500 during their careers — they dominate the list of most expensive paintings in the world (numbers adjusted for inflation):
1. The Card Players by Paul Cezanne: $250 million
2. No. 5, 1948 by Jackson Pollock: $156.8 million
3. Woman III vy Willem de Kooning: $154 million
4. Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I by Gustav Klimt: $150.2 million
5. Portrait of Dr. Gachet by Vincent van Gogh: $144.1 million
6. Dai du moulin de la Galetter by Pierre-Auguste Renior: $136.4 million
7. Garcon a la pipe by Pablo Picasso: $124.3 million
8. The Scream by Edvard Much: $119.9 million
9. Nude, Green Leaves and Bust by Pablo Picasso: $110.1 million
10. Portrait of Joseph Roulin by Vincent van Gogh: $107 million
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For further reading: Guinness World Records 2012 edited by Craig Glenday, Guinness Publishing (2011). http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2012/may/02/edvard-munch-scream-sothebys-auction?newsfeed=true. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_most_expensive_paintings.