Top 10 Art Auctions

1. Picasso, “Nu au plateau de sculpteur” (Nude, green leaves and bust):

Price:106.4 million dollars – sold May 2010

‘Nu au plateau de sculpteur’ feature’s Picasso’s mistress Marie-Thérèse Walter. It is more than 5 feet tall. The canvas is a vibrant blue and lilac.


2. Alberto Giacometti, “Walking Man I”, sculpture:

Price:104.3 million dollars – sold February 2010

‘The walking Man’, Alberto Giacometti’s six foot tall structure of a walking man, is made in mottled bronze. Its bidding lasted only 8 minutes and it was sold to a buyer whose identity is not known. It had four artist proofs on it.


3. Picasso, “Garcon a la Pipe” (Boy with a Pipe):

Price: 104.2 million dollars – sold May 2004

‘Garcon a la Pipe’ was painted in 1905 by Pablo Picasso (Boy with a Pipe). It was sold at auction in Sotheby’s in New York in May 2004. The painting is regarded by art critics as one of Picasso’s more average pieces. This work stunned the art world by reaching a sale price of just over $104 million.


4. Picasso, “Dora Maar au chat” (Dora Maar with cat):

Price: 95.2 million dollars – sold 2006

This world famous painting, ‘Dora Maar au chat’ – another by Pablo Picasso – was bought in a Sotheby’s auction in May 2006 by an anonymous Russian bidder for just over $95 million. Its pre-auction estimate of was of $50 million. This was exceeded during the auction to almost double the expected value. The cubist painting depicts the artist’s Croatian mistress Dora Maar sat on a chair with a cat perched on her shoulder.


5. Gustav Klimt, “Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I”:

Price: 87.9 million dollars – sold 2006

A 1912 painting by Gustav Klimt, ‘Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I’ depicts the wife of wealthy industrialist Ferdinand Bloch-Baur. This lady was an avid supporter of the arts and sponsor of Klimt. The painting was sold at Christie’s in November 2006 for almost $88 million. The subject of the painting Adele Bloch-Bau, by Gustav Klimt is the only model to be painted twice by the Austrian painter.


6. Vincent Van Gogh, “Portrait of Dr. Gachet”:

Price: 82.5 million dollars, (valued today at $138 million)sold 1990

Painted by Vincent van Gogh in 1890, ‘Portrait of Dr. Gatchet’ is one of two versions of the same painting, painted by the Dutch artist. It shows van Gogh’s doctor Paul Gachet (who looked after him in the last months of his life) sitting at a table with a foxglove plant in hand. The painting was auctioned by Christie’s in 1990, and sold to a Japanese Businessman, it was the most expensive painting in the world at the time.


7. Auguste Renoir, “Au Moulin de la Galette”:

Price: 78.1 million dollars, 1990

Commonly known as ‘Le Moulin de la Galette’, by French artist Pierre – Auguste Renoir, this is an 1876 painting by the French artist. The painting shows a scene of a social gathering in the Montmartre district of Paris, France. Au Moulin de la Galette was bought in auction in May 1990 by  the same Japanese businessman that bought Portrait du Dr Gachet – for over $78 million.


8. Peter Paul Rubens, “Massacre of the Innocents”:

Price: 76.7 million dollars, 2002

Painted in 2 versions in the 17th century by Peter Paul Rubens, Massacre of the Innocents depicts the biblical event of the same name. In July 2002 the painting was sold at auction in Sotheby’s, London for almost $76 million to Canadian press baron Kenneth Thomson. The price at that time made it the most expensive Old Master painting sold at auction at that time.


9. Mark Rothko, “White Center (Yellow, Pink and Lavender on Rose)” –

Price: 72.8 million dollars, 2007

Mark Rothko’s ‘White Centre (Yellow Pink and Lavender on Rose)’ was sold by Sotheby’s on behalf of David Rockefeller to the Royal family of Qatar. It is several blocks of layered, complementary colours on a large canvas.

The painting is from top to bottom, a yellow horizontal rectangle, a black horizontal strip, a narrow white rectangular band and the bottom half is lavender. The top half of the rose ground is deeper in colour and the bottom half is  more pale. The size of the painting is 205.8 x 141 cms.


10. “Portrait de l’Artiste Sans Barbe” by Van Gogh.

Price: $ 71.5 Million, 1998

One of many self-portraits produced by Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh, Portrait de l’Artiste Sans Barbewas painted in 1889.The artist had just shaved himself. In 1998 at an auction in Christie’s, New York the painting sold for $71.5 million, making it the third most expensive painting at that time.

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