Art / English

The world’s most expensive painting

The record has been broken! Paul Gauguin painting, Nafea Faa Ipoipo (When will you marry?) is now the world most expensive painting.

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This post – impressionist oil painting, sold for USD 300 million, was made in 1892 in Tahiti where Gauguin resided at that time. According to New York Times the buyer comes probably from Qatar. This is not confirmed nor denied by Rudolf Staechelin, a retired Sotheby’s executive and the previous owner of this painting.

If you look at the top ten most expensive paintings in 2009, you see that the prices have been soaring since the start of 1990es. The highest priced painting on that list, Jackson Pollock’s Nr.5, was sold at USD 140 million in 2006.

This record price was broken by The Card Players, from Paul Cézanne. It was sold for USD 274 million in 2011. The buyer was from Qatar as well.

It is part of the series of four paintings, three of which are collection of world well-known museums. Cézanne painted the series in early 1890es.

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And now with this vibrant coloured post-impressionist Gauguin, the most expensive painting is USD 300 million.

I am intrigued by the facts that the buyers of the most expensive paintings in the world are from Qatar. There were times when Japanese buyers dominated art auctions. Art is a valuable investment although it is difficult to attach certain price to it.

I am no art expert, I just love it but still I can’t understand this work from American contemporary artist, Mark Rothko, White Center (yellow, pink and lavender on rose). It is sold in 2007 for USD 83 million. The buyer is a Qatari also, a sheikh. The colours are beautifully combined, but is this painting USD 83 million worth? You tell me.

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What a contrast to see that Claude Monet’s oil painting which seemingly requires much more work done than Mark Rothko’s painting above, Le Grand Canal from 1901 was sold for only USD 36 million last Tuesday.

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I guess I would never understand how the pricing in the art world works. And now let’s wait for the new record price. Up to the next art auction!

21 thoughts on “The world’s most expensive painting

  1. Oh my! USD 83 million for that block of colours??? Yes the combination is cool, but that’s it and for that such amount of money??? He must have load of $$$$ Lo, and don’t know what to do with it😀 kidding! But I guess if you are really into art and have the money why not, though I won’t spend that much money only for that block colours painting! Monet I can understand. I like the ‘will you marry me’ painting. I always like colourful art/painting. Have a good week end, Lo!

    • It’s a matter of taste which is heavily influenced by the style, history and the artist’s background.

      If you have time, just google Piet Mondriaan. Mondriaan works are also consist of colours of blocks and lines. I love art and know a bit about it, and I like Mondriaan but still don’t get the hype around Rothko.

      Yes Rothke was bipolar and was living an interesting life but ….? At the end of the day it is a matter of taste and what art dealers/experts find hot at certain moment.

  2. Iya mbaaaa…. aku pun ga ngerti kalo cuma warna2 abstrak yg kuning diatas td. Kalo karya Claude Monet yg water lily memang bagus dan indah banget masih make sense. Apalagi stary nightnya Van Gogh..I love it (sun flowernya pun)… yg bingung tuh yg macam diatas itu. Trua gimana sih melihat sisi kemahalan sebuah art work itu ya?
    Tapi yg card player bagus juga. Hmmm kenapa aku jadi sok ngerti art gini ya? Hahaha efek lagi bahas ini di skolah kali ya? Mba Yo suka karya2nya Paul Klee ga? Kelasku lagi bahas Karya2nya minggu ini.

    • Menurut aliran, gaya, riwayat si seniman, selera dan apa yang lagi hot saat itu. Seni sekarang jadi komoditi Jo.

      Kalo kamu lihat daftar 10 lukisan termahal sekarang nggg ada lukisan dengan gaya realisme/romantisme. 10 lukisan termahal didominasi impressionisme, post impressionisme dan abstrak. Tiga aliran ini muncul setelah 1880-an keatas. Jadi era lelang itu ikut menentukan mahal ngga nya lukisan plus hal yang aku sebut diatas.

  3. Saya bukan orang yang mengerti seni mbak, ga tau bagaimana mereka melihat lukisan itu, apa yang mereka lihat, seandainya saja bisa melihat dan merasakan seperti mereka, mungkin saja pendapat saya akan berbeda dengan apa yang saat ini saya rasakan, yaitu mahal sekalii…

    • Menilai karya seni berdasarkan aliran, gaya, riwayat si seniman, selera dan apa yang lagi hot saat itu Auuak.

      Betul, memang seni itu pribadi sifatnya, apa yang orang lain rasa bagus, belum tentu kita rasa bagus. Jadi mahal tidaknya itu relatif.

  4. Usd.83million? Hummm kalo toh saya berdiri berlama lama didepan lukisan itu pasti bukan lagi berpikir tentang ini gambarnya apa? Tetapai kenapa ini bisa semahal itu?

    • Seni dinilai berdasarkan aliran, gaya, riwayat si seniman, selera dan apa yang lagi hot saat itu.

      Pelukis lukisan blok warna itu, Mark Rothko, riwayat hidupnya menarik pengamat seni karena dia bipolar dan bunuh diri. Mirip Van Gogh. Menurut art expert, banyak emosi yang kelihatan di karyanya Rothko. Aku sih walau ngerti seni dikit, ngga nangkep emosinya. Mungkin kalo lihat langsung ya.

      Untuk orang awam seperti kita memang harga segitu mahal tapi kalo pikir seni itu investasi, jadi relatif deh. Baca komen aku untuk Joice.

      • Terimakasih banyak infonya, saya baru akan bertanya ttg bagaimana suatu seni dinilai harganya ternyata diantaranya adalah yg mbak yo jelaskan. Dari blog ini juga saya bisa tahu aliran lukisan dan pelukis-pelukis yg tidak pernah saya tahu sebelumnya. Terimakasih sudah berbagi ilmu mbak yo🙂

  5. Berhubung lagi baca Capital in the 21st Centurynya Pikkety…pergerakan benda-benda seni bernilai tinggi dari Eropa ke UAE adalah satu indikasi pergerakan kapital dunia. Fenomena harga tinggi karya-karya seni 99% bukan tentang seninya sendiri tapi mengenai pergerakan ekonomi dunia. Jauh ya kayaknya kalau dihubungin secara nalar, tapi studi mengenai ini udah dilakukan sejak awal 2000an oleh ekonom dan balai lelang. Buat yang dekat dengan dunia seni-senian terutama yang rajin ke artfair, dateng ke balai lelang, pasti hafal banget sama praktek bisnis di dunia seni. I suppose in many ways, it is the ugly face of commodifying art to such a degree you can barely recognize what does anything mean anymore. Buat yang tertarik, bisa baca sekilas disini kalau mau tahu lebih jauh : http://sfaq.us/2014/11/art-in-the-shadow-of-art-market-industrialization-moving-toward-a-sustainable-ecosystem/ : )

    • Yep I know, UAE memang ambisinya tinggi karena modal ngga terbatas. The sky is the limit. Seperti aku tulis diatas, akhir 80an – awal 90an yang meraja lela beli karya seni dunia itu Jepang, sekarang nouveau richenya UAE dan negara minyak lainnya. Seni : investasi. Sayangnya karena itu banyak karya seni bagus jadi koleksi pribadi orang, ngga bisa diakses orang awam.

      Speaking of which, jadi penasaran apakah Sultan Brunei juga koleksi seni? Makasih linknya Aya.

      • Yeah, ada kekhawatiran soal aksesibilitas karya. Tapi mengingat tabiat nouveau riche dan jumlah pertumbuhan museum yg dibangun satu dekade belakangan di UAE kecil kemungkinan karya seni ini jadi milik privat semata. Saya (pengennya) optimis bahwa karya masih bisa diakses publik – cuma publik yang mana dan dimana yang jadi pertanyaan. Jadi, apakah ini indikasi kudu nabung untuk berangkat ke UAE untuk ngunjungi karya seni tsb?😀 *lap keringet*

        Iya Sultan Brunei koleksi karya seni – namun utamanya seni Islami. Dia juga koleksi mobil. Koleksi manuskrip kuno juga yang jumlahnya ngalahin koleksinya British Museum. Kalau udah ngomongin horang kayah dari emas hitam, daftar koleksinya aja bisa bikin pegel mata.

    • It’s a mix of history, the artist’s background, taste and what is hot at the moment. And taste is very personal here.

      Like, I appreciate Piet Mondriaan’s works but fail to do so with Mark Rothko’s works. Are the latter even art or are they graphic design? I don’t know😉

    • Strangely I love Piet Mondriaan’s works, while Jackson Pollock’s painting intrigue me a lot. However I am still indecisive about Mark Rothko’s works. Are they paintings or graphic art?

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