10 Most Expensive Paintings Ever Sold At Auction

For decades, Art has remained a form of self-expression through the use of colors, techniques, and skills. The form was even developed in the earliest days of mankind, dating back to prehistoric times. Archeologists have discovered remains of ancient rock carvings and sculptures across the world, leading to the assumption that even different forms of art were practiced. While many believe art started in Europe, research tells a different story, as many of these ancient artifacts were found in parts of Indonesia and Africa. Thus, art tells visual stories throughout human history.

Over the centuries, artists have used various mediums, such as oil painting, to breathe life into their subjects. These images were so captivating that people were willing to pay a pretty penny for their work. Today, many famed artists’ works have been sold via auction’s, where buyers are willing to pay even millions of dollars for a single piece of artwork. Here are 10 of the most expensive paintings sold at an auction!


Asian Contemporary artist Zao Wou-Ki certainly takes pride in his oil paintings and with good reason. In 2017, he became the tenth most well-known traded artist in the world, and one of four major Chinese artists to receive such an honor. Zao Wou-Ki’s work has been accepted by institutions throughout Europe, America, and Asia. The artist is known for his ability to combine traditional Chinese painting techniques, such as ink painting, with abstract pieces belonging to Western artists. Zao Wou-Ki’s most renowned work was his 1985 Juin-Octobre painting triptych that sold for a whopping $65 million at the Sotheby’s Modern Art Evening Sale in Hong-Kong. This was not only setting the world record for the highest paid Asian artist, but his piece was considered the most expensive work sold at an auction house in Hong Kong! Zao Wou-Ki snagged a big win, despite his passing back in 2013. At least he didn’t leave this world a struggling artist, as so many have.


Pablo Picasso, unlike Zao Wou-Ki, was no stranger to the world of fame. Probably one of the greatest artists that lived, Picasso’s work transcends over time and space, making his pieces an international treasure. There’s not one gallery or art museum that doesn’t own this artist’s work. So it was quite the shock to learn that, back in 2018, one of Picasso’s pieces was to be sold at its very first auction. Originally called by the late artist himself “Femme au béret et à la robe quadrillée”, the 1937 piece was Picasso’s best work, as it depicted his conflicting feelings between the two women he loved; Marie Therese Walter and Dora Maar. Despite Picasso’s personal problems at the time, his painting took home an insane $69.4 million at the Sotheby’s Impressionist Modern and Surrealist auction in London on February 28, 2018. That’s a major sellout!

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