See also : Top 10 Ancient painting The Man The Woman Children Nude Groups Orientalism Landscape Tabletop and still life Christianity Italy Italy II Italian painting 1300-1700 France Monet Monet < 1900 Bacon Bacon 1963-69 Modigliani USA USA II Warhol Celebrities by Warhol Basquiat Picasso Picasso < 1907 1932 Picasso Picasso from 1940
Chronology : 16th century 1500-1519 19th century 1890-1899 1890 20th century 1900-1909 1905 1910-1919 1917 1918 1930-1939 1932 1950-1959 1955 1960-1969 1964 1969 1980-1989 1982
List of most expensive paintings including private sales, in Wikipedia.
1500 Between Last Supper and Mona Lisa
2017 SOLD for $ 450M including premium
The picture shows Christ holding the orb of the world in his left hand and blessing with the raised fingers of his right hand. The mystical message without the divine attribute of the halo competes with the holy shrouds recognized as authentic at his time while adding attitude and gesture. The orb that prophesies the rescue of the world is a reflective crystal ball through which the viewer perceives the palm of the hand.
This painting had belonged to King Charles I of England. It was probably hanging in the private apartments of Queen Henriette who was born in the French royal family. Its previous whereabouts are unknown. A possible hypothesis is a French royal order during the Italian wars. King Louis XII was so impressed by the Last Supper that he wanted to take the wall to France.
The analyzes provided a lot of information on the realization and history of this painting. The perfection of the expression is concentrated in the lips and the gaze, anticipating the Mona Lisa. The mouth was drawn by the technique of pierced drawing used by other great masters of that time including Raphael and Andrea del Sarto. One of the eyes was softened by a spread of color pushed by the wrist of the artist.
Leonardo cared little for the supporting materials. The conservation woes of the Last Supper are famous. The original panel of Salvator Mundi was early split because of a knot in the wood. The accident caused awkward repainting on the face. Anonymous owners then extended these repaints to the point that only peripheral regions including the hands were still visible in their original quality.
All of that has been conscientiously repaired. Fortunately the sfumato remained in very good condition under the disagreeable layers that were removed. This signature Leonardo technique makes it possible to compare the Salvator Mundi with the Mona Lisa which is the culmination of his art. The perfectionist preparation of his paintings could last several years. A date around 1500 is plausible for the Salvator Mundi.
Christ the savior of the world by Leonardo, oil on panel 66 x 46 cm, will be sold by Christie's in New York on November 15, lot 9 B. Please watch the video shared by the auction house.
1890 Between Harvest and Snow
2019 SOLD for $ 110M including premium
Monet loves this theme that is typical of country life without the need to add humans or birds. He begins with five landscapes in which two haystacks are distant from each other.
According to the sequence established by Wildenstein, the next sub-series is composed of two oil paintings on canvas 73 x 93 cm executed during the autumn of 1890. The alignment of two haystacks leads to the tall trees on the horizon, against the light in the last rays of sunset. For the first time the rest of the image is minimized. The predominance of the expression of colors over theme and form opens the way to modern art.
The second of these pictures, W1273, goes even further by managing to avoid the shadows of the two stacks. All that remains is the light that plays with the contours of stacks and trees and reveals the shimmering colors of the field. It was dated 1891 by the artist, certainly by reference to the year of the first public exhibition of the series, in the gallery of Durand-Ruel.
W1273 will be sold by Sotheby's in New York on May 14, lot 8. The March 15 press release announces an estimate in excess of $ 55M. Please watch the video shared by the auction house.
The deep nature of a landscape can no longer be expressed by a single snapshot. In this series which ends in January 1891 and totals 25 paintings, Monet has captured 25 moments of light of a wide variety : morning, evening, full sun, snow, mist. In the last pictures the color also comes to sublimate the perspective with the reduction of the theme to a single haystack. Also taken at sunset, W1290 was sold for $ 81M including premium by Christie's on November 16, 2016.
An enduring symbol of Impressionism from Claude Monet's iconic Haystacks series will lead an important private collection of 8 Impressionist works on offer in #SothebysImpMod Evening Sale on 14 May in #NYC. Learn more: https://t.co/B4xVl8QWFA pic.twitter.com/SMDorfOowE— Sotheby's (@Sothebys) March 15, 2019
1905 Innocent Children of the Période Rose
2018 SOLD for $ 115M including premium
Poverty had dominated his Période Bleue. It is now replaced by the optimistic and promising theme of children ready to enter adulthood. The Garçon à la pipe, oil on canvas 100 x 81 cm painted in 1905, was sold for $ 104M including premium by Sotheby's on May 5, 2004.
Pablo mixes the innocence of the nude with the acquisition of a first job. Although the formats are very different, the Fillette à la corbeille fleurie, 155 x 66 cm painted in 1905, and the Garçon menant un cheval, 220 x 131 cm finished in 1906, appear as pendants.
The girl is standing in profile. The body is healthy, straight. The expression is rebellious without any excuse for immodesty, in a striking psychological effect : this young person has obviously been disturbed in her occupation.
During the very short Période Rose the line is delimited and effective. The figurative realism of this Fillette makes forget that nudity may not have been necessary. This artwork successively delighted Gertrude Stein and David Rockefeller. It will be sold on May 8 by Christie's in New York, lot 15.
1917 A Portrait for Fifteen Francs
2018 SOLD for $ 157M including premium
Modigliani was a prolific draftsman. He had learned during his artistic training to draw quickly. Close to the conceptions of the Académie de la Grande Chaumière where he will soon meet Jeanne, he knows how to carry out speedy studies of female nudes in poses where the natural prevails over the conventional.
Zbo organizes paintings of nudes by Modi. He chooses pretty women whom he leads into an apartment-workshop where he has installed Modigliani. The artist is paid 15 francs a day and the model 5 francs for the session.
The rest is easy to imagine. The woman has won her 5 francs and is in a hurry to leave. The artist has little time. His painting is based on a drawing that brings to his best images a great spontaneity. The bare skin partitioned by the lines is painted in a warm color. The woman is lying or sitting on the bed, very simply, without decoration and without narrative effect.
A Nu couché sur le côté, oil on canvas 90 x 147 cm painted in 1917, was sold for $ 27M including premium by Christie's on November 4, 2003. It will be sold by Sotheby's in New York on May 14, lot 18. The press release announces an estimate in excess of $ 150M. It is the largest painting in this series and the only reclining nude by Modigliani to be displayed in all the extent of her arms and legs.
The attitude is not very erotic. The woman is seen from behind. The head turned for looking at the artist and the firmly sealed mouth reveal some impatience.
On November 9, 2015, Christie's sold a 60 x 92 cm Nudo Rosso for $ 170M including premium. This nude reclining on her back dated 1917-1918 seems indeed later by its softer line, an even warmer color and also a friendly attitude of this model who exhibits all her charms in full front.
Please watch the video shared by Sotheby's.
1917-1918 The Ideal of Intimacy
2015 SOLD for $ 170M including premium
In 1917, he found that ideal in the nude. He has no money but that does not mind. His small workshop contains two chairs, a sofa and a bottle of cognac. He is alone with a girl paid by his dealer. Zborowski had a good perception : the girls are pretty. Around them is war. The time is not conducive to shameless exhibits. Modigliani's nudes are a scandal.
Amedeo is a nice guy. He establishes empathy with those anonymous visitors for a day. He expresses tenderness and intimacy better than any other artist. He obtained this effect by a subtle color work. Pink is not warm enough to express the skin: the artist creates rich colors tending to reddish or apricot.
On November 9 in New York, Christie's sells a Nudo Rosso, oil on canvas 60 x 92 cm painted in 1917 or 1918, lot 8A.
This reclining nude is a masterpiece of harmony, similar on that way as the Belle Romaine seated nude that was sold for $ 69M including premium by Sotheby's on November 2, 2010.
The voluptuous curves emphasizes the confidence of the model with her back slightly arched above the couch and her outstretched arms. Eyes without pupils are monochrome, enabling the viewer to better capture the quiet waiting of her gaze. The wild locks on the forehead indicate that this ideal woman is a character from real life and not a model prepared for art.
The press release of September 3 announced a hope beyond $ 100M. Let me add a comment: this superb painting is worth such an expectation.
I invite you to watch the video shared by Christie's.
1932 Picasso in Love
2010 SOLD 106 M$ including premium
On March 8, 1932 this young man of 50 years wants to express the strength of his love for Marie-Thérèse Walter. The result is that Nude, green leaves and bust for sale by Christie's on May 4 in New York.
The young woman is glorified twice: despite the stylization typical of the Picassos of that time, the bust looks unmistakably similar as the head of the nude. The young woman sleeps peacefully, lying on her back, offered in the nude before the artist's eyes. The leaves symbolize the force of spring ... and that of the painter, for sure. The bright colors in flat areas increase the perfect legibility of the work. The painting is illustrated in the press release shared by AuctionPublicity
This lot has many qualities. It is large (162 x 130 cm). It was recorded, but was not shown to the public for half a century. It comes from a prestigious collection, alongside one of the most beautiful nudes by Matisse that I will discuss later.
The auction house does not publish a price, though this painting is sold from an estate. When one likes it, one does not discuss money for it.
POST SALE COMMENT
The record was announced, the record is registered: $ 106.5 million including premium.
This is not a surprise, because it is a masterpiece for which Christie's has finely worked the promotion.
At this level, the media coverage of the sale is also promoting the buyer. One can expect that this price is exceeded by another work of art in the coming months. To be followed!
The low resolution image below is shared by Wikimedia for fair use :
1955 The Homage by Picasso to his own Art
2015 SOLD for $ 180M including premium
It is difficult to recognize the influence of Delacroix upon the Demoiselles because the tribal art that inspired the deconstruction of forms is the real origin of Cubism. Other influences have also been identified for this painting which is one of the most important breakthroughs of Western art : el Greco, Cézanne, Gauguin.
Matisse died in 1954. His Odalisques were famous. Picasso had not used this theme which exacerbated the colors and he was somehow jealous of his late friend. He disguises Jacqueline but this is not enough to equal the glory of his rival. To resume his place in the history of art, he resuscitates the Femmes d'Alger in a series of fifteen paintings numbered A to O.
The series is an imitation of the styles of Picasso's career starting from his invention of Cubism. The latest version, O, oil on canvas 114 x 146 cm achieved on 14 February 1955, appears as a synthesis of this rather disparate set, like the ultimate completion of Pablo's art on that date.
It takes much imagination to see Delacroix's influence in the Version O, but the comparison with the Demoiselles is obvious. The women are naked or half dressed but in a later cubism style that excites the imagination by blurring the vision. The standing woman on the left displays a much better readability that joins the then recent art of Pablo.
Pablo has always enjoyed to confront himself with the great masters. The large mirror anticipates his series of Las Meninas painted two years later.
Version O of Les Femmes d'Alger was sold for $ 32M including premium by Christie's on 10 November 1997. It is for sale on May 11 at Christie's in New York, lot 8A. The press release of March 25 indicates an estimate in the region of $ 140M.
The low resolution image below is shared by Wikimedia for fair use :
1964 Shot Marilyn by Warhol
2022 SOLD for $ 195M by Christie's
He is still stacking them at The Factory when a woman asks him the authorization to shoot them. She is the friend of the usual photographer of The Factory and Andy accepts. She does not come with a camera but with a revolver and shoots the stack of four at the level of Marilyn's forehead. They are now known as the Shot Marilyns despite being repaired with no evidence left from the hole. The turquoise had been spared. Andy fired the photographer.
Shot Orange was sold for $ 17.3M by Sotheby's on May 14, 1998. It was rumored in December 2017 to have been sold for $ 250M to the financier Kenneth Griffin. Shot Red was sold by Christie's to a Japanese bidder for $ 4M in 1989 and privately acquired by Philip Niarchos in 1994 for a reported $ 3.6M. Shot Light Blue was acquired in 1967 by Peter Brant. Spared from the shot, the Turquoise was rumored in 2007 to have been sold to Steven Cohen for $ 80M.
Coming from the collection of the Ammann dealer brother and sister team, Shot Sage Blue Marilyn was sold for $ 195M by Christie's on May 9, 2022, lot 36A.
1969 How Bacon caught Freud
2013 SOLD 142 M$ including premium
Heads in small sizes often come to auction, but larger works are exceptional. On November 12 in New York, Christie's sells Three Studies of Lucian Freud, three oils on canvas painted in 1969, 198 x 148 cm for each element.
The two artists have been friends for nearly a quarter of century. Francis is in his George Dyer period and his appeal to Lucian has no reason to be erotic. Always looking for a total empathy with his entourage, Bacon pays tribute to a rival whom he admires. The seating position is gentle, but the colors and deformities of the face express the passions, in front of a strident yellow background.
Bacon locked Freud in a threadlike prism, similar to a squaring but proving his intent of the three-dimensional nature of the triptych. This desire to control his friend is fictional and symbolic because Bacon, as almost every time, worked this triple portrait from photos made by John Deakin.
Christie's does not indicate an estimate but compares the importance of this work with the triptych of the same size sold for $ 86M including premium by Sotheby's on 14 May 2008. Painted in 1976, this work is more symbolic but also less three-dimensional due to the decomposition of the body in the central picture.
I invite you to play the video shared by Christie's.
POST SALE COMMENT
The auction sale of this triptych was an important event that Christie's has successfully managed : sold for $ 142M including premium.
The low resolution image below is shared by Wikimedia for fair use :
1982 The Energy of a Skull
2017 SOLD for $ 110M including premium
It is to the honor of Annina Nosei to have convinced Jean-Michel that her basement was more appropriate than the streets of New York to let his skills explode. This close collaboration during which the artist can finally work regularly on very large canvases lasted from September 1981 to November 1982.
During that first year Jean-Michel mostly displays characters in full length, apostles of negritude whose transparency of the flesh reveals the skeleton. His perfectly mastered technique with acrylic, spray and oilstick and his fast and accurate stroke bring the expression of an activism unprecedented in art.
A new year begins, with new advances in his artistic language. On May 18 in New York, Sotheby's sells at lot 24 a painting 183 x 173 cm executed in January 1982 for the Nosei Gallery. The April 19 press release announces an estimate over $ 60M.
Like many opus by Jean-Michel, it is untitled. The theme is limited to a huge head to which bright colors and aggressive teeth provide an angry expression. By its transparency, it is a skull or perhaps a mask. Without neck or body, it floats before a blue sky that is perhaps only a gap in a tagged wall.
The monumental heads painted in 1982 are the culmination of the art of Jean-Michel. The devil's head on a canvas 239 x 500 cm painted in March in Modena for Mazzoli was sold for $ 57M including premium by Christie's on May 10, 2016. Pairs of characters also appear : Dustheads was sold for $ 49M including premium on 15 May 2013, also by Christie's.