A Mark Rothko painting from 1957, titled “No. 22 (reds)”, sold for roughly $70 million at the end of February. While certainly an enormous sum of money for a piece of art, it doesn’t even make the top 30 most expensive paintings ever sold in the world.
So far, the most expensive painting ever sold was “Salvator Mundi” by Leonardo da Vinci for an astounding $450.3 million in 2017. Created around the end of the 15th century, da Vinci’s portrait of Jesus Christ was thought to be a copy of the original painting until it was rediscovered and restored in 2011.
Other famous paintings, including Pablo Picasso’s “Les Femmes d’Alger” and Amedeo Modigliani’s “Nu couché” both sold for over $170 million in separate 2015 auctions.
The most recent painting to make the top 10 was Claude Monet’s “Meules”, which sold at Sotheby’s auction house for $110.7 million in May of 2019.
Historical context, originality, skill and fame of the artist are just a few of the many reasons for why a piece of art is valued the way it is. Most buyers of these enormously priced paintings treat them as concrete investments, hoping their value will increase as the years go by.