Stopping to think about why art is so valuable can really be confusing. Something created from relatively cheap materials, canvas and paints, can somehow change into an item worth millions. Or even hundreds of millions.
It’s a transformation akin to magic. Is it a display of skill so tremendous that it deserves millions, or is it simply the sentiment attached to the work, more like paying for the story of the artist?
Either way, these are the artworks currently worth the most in the world.
1. Salvator Mundi – Leonardo da Vinci
When asked which the most valuable da Vinci painting is, many would immediately answer with Mona Lisa. But this isn’t true. It is, in fact, a much less well known painting called Salvator Mundi, depicting Jesus holding a crystal ball. But why was it recently sold for an utterly outrageous $450 million?
It turns out that the huge price tag exists for a few reasons. The first is that it is the only work by da Vinci that is in private hands, making it the only that is likely to be bought or sold any time soon. The second is that the painting was at first assumed to be a copy, or not by da Vinci himself.
But, after first being sold in 1958 for £45, again in 2005 for $10,000, it was then authenticated as genuine, and that price jumped up to a guaranteed $100 million. It turns out that this is the lost da Vinci, commissioned in 1605 by King Louis XII of France. You may want to try your luck at Lucky Nugget Casino Canada if you want to gather up the funds to make a bid.
2. Interchange – Willem de Kooning
Salvator Mundi clearly took a great deal of skill. Interchange, on the other hand, is a painting that would require a much more trained eye in order to see the skill involved. An abstract work by a Dutch-American, the painting sold for $200 million to Kenneth C Griffith, a billionaire investor, in 2015.
Interestingly enough, a second $200 million was spent by the same man, at the same time, on Number 17A. You will learn about it shortly.
3. Number 17A – Jackson Pollock
Jackson Pollock, the widely known abstract-impressionist, may have been good at dripping colours onto canvases, but he wasn’t especially good at naming the artworks. Number 17A was sold to Kenneth C Griffin, as already said.
Pollock also did the equally imaginatively named No. 5, 1948, which sold for $140 million a few years prior in 2006.
4. No. 6 (Violet, Green and Red) – Mark Rothko
Last we have No. 6 (Violet, Green and Red.) This painting sold for $186 million, but is now part of an ongoing court battle. Apparently Russian millionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev is attempting to sue his art dealer, who purchased this painting, and 36 others, on his behalf.
It runs out, however, that a painting of strips of violet, green and red is not worth $186 million, and that Rybolovlev was overcharged.