8 Most (Ridiculously) Expensive Works of Art in the World
Mar 18, 2015   •   Daniel Gonzales
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[dropcap letter=”A”]rt, in general, can cost a hefty sum. All depending on when it was made, the quality, its influence, and how it is interpreted. Here are just 8 of the most expensive ones across time.
8. Eileen Gray’s Dragons Chair – $28m – The Most Expensive Chair
Initially, this chair was expected to be sold for only $4m, but due to the aggressive bidding of wealthy buyers, this chair ended up pricing six times its original price. This chair was made during the Art Deco era and is considered as one of the pioneers of the Art Deco movement along with Tamara de Lempicka (painter) and Gustave Miklos (sculptor). Formerly owned by the co-founder of Yves Saint Laurent, this now belongs to Robert and Cheska Vallois.
7. Clark Sickle-Leaf Carpet Rug – $33.8m – The Most Expensive Rug
This 17th Century Kerman (South-East Iran) carpet is now the most expensive rug in the world. What makes this rug expensive is the rare vase technique patterns it uses. This is the only rug that uses a red background together with the rare vase technique. There were 4 aggressive bidders for this rug and within the 10 minutes until it was sold.
6. The Chicken Cup – $36m – The Most Expensive Porcelain
Though it might look like an ordinary porcelain cup, what makes this porcelain from the Chenghua reign (1465-1487) is the chicken design in the cup. They were produced in low quantities (around only 17 in the world, four are in a museum) and when porcelain art was at its peak. This was purchased by Chinese billionaire Liu Yiqian and caused a stir when a photograph of him was released sipping from the tea cup.
5. The Badminton Chest – $36.7m – The Most Expensive Chest (and furniture)
This 18th-century furniture is the most expensive furniture ever sold. Auctioned of the by the Somerset house, this furniture is named after the Badminton House in Gloucestershire. This was commissioned to built by Henry Somerset and it took 6 years for 30 experts to construct this well constructed, adorned amethyst quartz piece of furniture. It was purchased by Prince Hans-Adam II and it now resides in the Liechtenstein Museum of Vienna.
4. Guennol Lioness – $57.2m – The Most Expensive Ancient Sculpture
The 3.2 inch-tall Guennol Lioness is over 5000 years old. What makes this remarkable is that this figurine was created during the time man invented the wheel and started construction settlements. This figurine was discovered in Iraq and was made during the Mesopotamian era. The figurine depicts a lioness with human features, making it an anthropomorph. This was purchased by an anonymous buyer.
3. Zhichuan Resettlement by Wang Meng – $65.5m – The Oldest and Most Expensive Asian Painting
Wang Meng is considered one of the Four Masters of the Yuan Dynasty (the rest were Wu Zhen, Huang Gongwang, and Ni Zan). Although Wang Meng is the youngest and least popular amon these masters, his works later influenced Chinese art. Even if his famous works such as Forest Grotto at Juqu and Writing Books under the Pine Trees, this 665 year old lesser known painting still amounted to hefty sum of $65.5m.
2. L’Homme qui marche I (The Walking Man I) by Alberto Giacometti – $140m – The Most Expensive Modern Sculpture
The Walking Man series comprises of 6 editions. This figure depicts the humility of man and it symbolizes humanity and is considered one of the most iconic images of modern art. This figure has also appeared in the 100 Swiss Francs banknote in 1998. This is currently the only version that has been sold in private hands, namely Lily Safra, a Brazilian socialite.
1. Nafea faa ipoipo (When Will You Marry?) by Paul Gauguin – $300m – The Most Expensive Painting
Paul Gauguin is a noted painter for post-impressionist works. Initially he was not as well noticed and his works were priced modestly until his death. What makes Gauguin’s works different is his use of different colors during the post-impressionism era. His paintings of Tahitian women are depicted as erotic and it is said that Gauguin had affairs with many of them. This particular work was recently purchased by the Royal Family of Qatar.