10 Most Expensive Art Pieces Sold in 2013: Which Famous Painter Has The Highest Price Tag?

paintingAppreciating artworks by notable painters and artists can be quite subjective. For some people, a still life sketch of fruit and flowers on a table is a work of art. Some would go say that abstract lines and figures are beautiful in a certain sense. However, many do not really understand why a framed painting of a young woman with a weird smile can demand millions of dollars.

Art appreciation can be confusing as people’s reception to beauty varies greatly from person to person. But to a select few, owning a creation of reputable masters, even if it would cost them tens of millions of dollars, is a privilege they love to have and experience.

2013 is a year that highlights such extravagance only the wealthy can afford. According to Christie’s, one of the world’s reputable auction houses, art sales last year amounted to over $7 billion. This list ranks the most expensive art sales that occurred in 2013. Read on and discover the top 10 priciest masterpieces sold in 2013.

#10 Picasso “Woman Sitting Near a Window”

Price: $44.9 million


This piece features Marie Therese Walter, Pablo Picasso’s greatest love. Their romance is one of the most celebrated affairs in the world of art. One good reason is that Marie encouraged Picasso to practice Cubism, a painting technique he later became famous for. Two, they say a painter is a good lover. Considering Picasso was 45 when he met Marie, then a 17-year old lass, such statement could never be farther from the truth.

#9 Norman Rockwell “Saying Grace”

Price: $46 million


Considered by many as one of the few modern American artists who can truly depict American life, Rockwell was paid a commission of $3,500 for this painting. This particular work of art appeared as a cover of the Saturday Evening Post’s Thanksgiving issue in 1951.  The painter’s son, Jarvis, is one of the models of this painting, which depicts a woman saying grace in a crowded restaurant. One of the expensive art sales in 2013, the buyer refused to be identified and chose to purchase the item quietly.

#8 Mark Rothko “Untitled (No. 11)”

Price: $46.1 million


Although branded by his contemporaries and most of the art community as an “abstract impressionist”, Rothko despised the designation. He described Untitled (No. 11), which was completed in 1957, not as a painting, but “an experience”. Rothko met his tragic end 13 years later, when the painter decided to commit suicide.

#7 Jean-Michel Basquiat “Dustheads”

Price: $48.4 million


Known for his graffiti works in the Lower Eastside of Manhattan back in the 70s, Jean Michael Basquiat had the privilege of meeting Andy Warhol, one of the greats in modern art. Dustheads exhibits Basquiat’s wizardry with conventional materials. The artwork is made of acrylic, oilstick, spray enamel and metallic paint on canvas. Sadly, he committed suicide in 1988 and died at the young age of 27.

#6 Roy Lichtenstein “Woman With Flowered Hat”

Price: $56.1 million


This pop art by Roy Lichtenstein was painted in 1963 and was inspired by Picasso’s Dora Maar. In the art world, spoofs of another master’s work do not carry much value but this creation by Lichtenstein is clearly an exception.  The “Woman With Flowered Hat” is now the most expensive artwork of Lichtenstein, when jeweller Laurence Graff bought it last year for $56.1 million as a birthday present for himself.

#5 Andy Warhol “Coca-Cola (3)”

Price: $57.2 million


Accredited as the Father of Pop Art, Andy Warhol’s creations are some of the most expensive paintings in the world. One of which is the “Coca-Cola (3)”, a black-and-white hand painted piece completed in 1962. The painting reflected Warhol’s views of consumerism in the United States, where everyone essentially yearns for the same thing. “A Coke is a Coke and no amount of money can get you a better Coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking,” Warhol said.

#4 Jeff Koons “Balloon Dog”

Price: $58.4 million


Art is not only limited to paintings and sketches, which is why Jeff Koon’s “Balloon Dog” is on this list. Koon is fascinated with balloons, which encouraged him to make sculptures that resemble balloon animals. The New York Post reported that Koon’s “Balloon Dog” is the most expensive sculpture ever sold at an auction with the artist still living.

#3 Andy Warhol “Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster)”

Price: $105 million


One of the priciest creations of And Warhol, this painting, done with silkscreen ink and silver spray paint on canvas, shows very graphic details of a car crash, with the body still inside the mangled car. This particular Warhol creation is signed twice by the artist and was only displayed for public viewing once in 26 years. The buyer of this piece remains anonymous.

#2 Francis Bacon “Three Studies of Lucian Freud”

Price: $142 million


Basically a triptych portrait of Lucian Freud, Francis Bacon’s good friend, this piece uses oil on canvas. The painting, done in 1969, features three panels of Freud sitting in a stool inside a cage. This piece highlights Bacon’s distorted approach to painting, a practice he championed throughout his life. The sad thing about Bacon and Freud’s friendship was that it ended a year after this painting was finished. Elaine Wynn of the Wynn Hotels is the current owner of this masterpiece.

#1 Pablo Picasso “Le Reve”

Price: $155 million


Another Picasso creation that features Marie Therese Walter, Le Reve, which means “The Dream”, was done one lazy afternoon sometime in January of 1932. The painting was sold by Stephen Wynn of the popular Wynn Hotels to American hedge fund manager Steven Cohen via a private sale. Despite Wynn causing a 6-inch tear in the painting, which cost him $90,000 worth or extensive repair, the La Reve still warranted a heavy price.

Jenny Chang

By Jenny Chang

Jenny Chang is a senior writer specializing in SaaS and B2B software solutions. Her decision to focus on these two industries was spurred by their explosive growth in the last decade, much of it she attributes to the emergence of disruptive technologies and the quick adoption by businesses that were quick to recognize their values to their organizations. She has covered all the major developments in SaaS and B2B software solutions, from the introduction of massive ERPs to small business platforms to help startups on their way to success.

Paula Bennett. says:

Lucian Freud lived next door to us and he was very young when he often popped into our house in 21Delamere terrace.Paddington.w2 Nina Hamnett was also coming over as she lived nearby. Hal Woolf, the painter lived in the same house as us and he had his studio above us. My stepfather Beau,Henry Beaufoy Milton was also a painter. Lucian Freud did a beautiful painting of my stepfather Henry Beaufoy Milton with my stepsister Henrietta. I The painting is owned by a Japanese banker. It was a very unusual time in the 4O's and 5O's in Delamere terrace with lots of parties and interesting people coming and just being part of the Bohemian art world.

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artlover says:

I'm no art critic, but isn't Mark Rothko a bit absurd? I suspect his suicide has a lot to do why this piece fetches that price. Although I agree he's one of the best post-modern painters.

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