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Top Four Most Outrageous Artwork Purchases That Will Make Your Jaw Drop

Various art pieces are notorious for their jaw-dropping price tags, and there are many reasons that contribute to it. Art has been a major symbol of status throughout history — a symbol of wealth and prestige. This was highlighted during the period following the funding of art workshops by the merchants and bankers after the Renaissance.

Private art collectors are usually so wealthy and thrilled about coming across a piece of art that they don’t blink an eye at the price – no matter how outrageous. However, art may actually be one of the smartest investments to make since there are constant price increases over time. Additionally, artwork happens to be inheritable property and carries low tax rates as compared to other assets. Placing your funds in artwork may have you seeing faster returns than many investment portfolios!  Here we list some of the most outrageously expensive artworks sold in recent times:

Salvator Mundi – Leonardo da Vinci

The famous Italian renaissance artist needs no introduction even to those who aren’t conversant with art. The Salvator Mundi is a piece that dates to 1500 and has long been considered a copy of a lost original painting that was veiled with overpainting. The piece depicts Jesus dressed in Renaissance clothing in the act of making the sign of the cross. Many argue that the piece is an original by Da Vinci, while still others are adamant that he only contributed to specific elements in the painting. Still, in spite of the controversy and the question over much of its history, the piece is the only one of Da Vinci’s that remains in a private collection after being sold at an auction for an eye-watering $450.3 million in November of 2017. It was purchased by Prince Badr bin Abdullah, and the current location is unknown, though there are rumors that it is in Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s luxury yacht as they await the completion of the Al-‘Ula cultural center.

Interchange – Willem de Kooning

This abstract painting is an oil on canvas piece that was painted in 1955. It happens to be one of the Dutch-American artist’s first works and bears the transition of the artist’s change in style of painting under the influence of Franz Kline. It sold for $300 million in 2015 and was, at the time, the painting sold for the highest price which was then surpassed in 2017 by the Salvator Mundi. The man who purchased the painting is Ken Griffin, a hedge-fund billionaire who paid $500 million for two artworks at once. The other piece he purchased was Number 17A by Jackson Pollock for $200 million which ranks as the fifth most expensive painting sale in the world.

The Card Players – Paul Cézanne

This painting is one of five of a series of works by the French Post-Impressionist artist and was painted in the early 1890s. The painting exchanged hands at the cost of $225 million in 2011, its new owners being the Davis family in the US. This series of paintings are thought to have been painted just before Cézanne worked on his most acclaimed work in his final years. The entire series is of paintings of men playing cards in different positions and smoking pipes. His artworks are famed for their lack of drama and their lack of narrative with an absence of alcohol and money which was often depicted in other works of his era. Some liken the intense concentration of the people in his art in their game of cards to his intense focus on his paintwork. In a way, it is poetic.

When Will You Marry? – Paul Gauguin

This oil painting is from 1892 and was loaned to the Kunstmuseum in Switzerland for almost half a century. The painting was sold privately by Rudolf Staechelin’s family to Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad Al-Thani in 2015 for a shattering $210 million! The painting was inspired by Gauguin’s trip to Tahiti in 1891, an eye-opening experience that made him realize it had been colonized and that disease had killed the majority of the indigenous people he had visited for inspiration. Only about a third of their population remained, but he painted many paintings of the native women of the island. A pencil sketch of the same piece was discovered and is on exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Art is, no doubt, a symbol of wealth, and judging by the figures we’ve just looked at – immense wealth! Art has been a constant through all of history and will continue being a facet of our culture. Who knows what the worth of today’s art may be in another 100 years or 200 years? Mind-boggling, indeed.

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