Appreciating art by the most famous artists in the world is subjective for most. For some people, a house in the woods with the lights on, or a bowl of fruit is a work of art, and some say that abstract lines hold their own beauty. Many however do not really understand why a painting of a woman with a strange expression can garner millions of dollars.
Art appreciation can be confusing as people’s perception of beauty varies greatly from person to person. But to a select few, owning a creation of the most famous painters, is a privilege they want to experience.
The woman represented in this piece is Marie Therese Walter, Pablo Picasso’s greatest love. It is said their romance is one of the most celebrated love affairs in the world of art. It was Marie who encouraged Picasso to practice Cubism, a painting technique he later became famous for. Picasso was 45 when he met Marie, and she was just 17-years of age.
Norman Rockwell, known for one of the few American artists who can truly depicts American life, Rockwell was initially paid just $3,500 for this painting. It appeared as a cover of the Saturday Evening Post’s Thanksgiving issue in 1951. The painter’s son, Jarvis, is one of the models in the piece, 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 purchased the item quietly.
This piece by Roy Lichtenstein was done in 1963 and was inspired by Picasso’s Dora Maar. Typically spoofs of another artists work does not bring much value but this was an exception. This is now the most expensive Lichtenstein. Jeweller Laurence Graff bought it last year for $56.1 million as a birthday present for himself.
Considered to be an “abstract impressionist”, Rothko despised this title and reference. He described this piece, completed in 1957, not as a painting, but “an experience”. Rothko passed away 13 years later, when he committed suicide.
Basquiat was known for his graffiti works in the 70s, and had the privilege of meeting Andy Warhol, one of the greats in modern art. The artwork is made of acrylic, oilstick, spray enamel and metallic paint on canvas. Sadly, he committed suicide in 1988 at the age of 27.
Most famous, Andy Warhol’s creations are some of the most well known and expensive paintings in the world. “Coca-Cola (3)”, a black-and-white hand painted piece completed in 1962 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 famously said.
We all know art is not just limited to art to hang on the wall so Jeff Koon’s “Balloon Dog” needs to be mentioned. Koon is fascinated with balloons, which encouraged him to make sculptures that resemble balloon animals. According to the New York Post, Koon’s “Balloon Dog” is the most expensive sculpture ever sold at an auction with the artist still living.
One of the highest prices received for an Andy Warhol creation was this painting, done with silkscreen ink and silver spray paint on canvas. It shows very graphic details of a car crash, with the body still inside the severely damaged car. This Warhol piece was signed twice by the artist and was only displayed for public viewing once in 26 years. The buyer of this piece remains anonymous.
This is a triptych portrait of Lucian Freud, Francis Bacon’s good friend, oil on canvas. The painting was done in 1969 and shows three panels of Freud sitting in a stool inside a cage. This piece displays Bacon’s distorted approach to painting, a practice he championed throughout his life. Bacon and Freud’s friendship ended a year after this painting was finished. The current owner of the piece is Elaine Wynn of the Wynn Hotels.
This is another Picasso creation that features his love, Marie Therese Walter. Titled Le Reve, which means “The Dream”. It was done on a 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 through a private sale. It was widely reported that damage was done to the painting under Wynn’s ownership (a 6-inch tear in the painting, which cost him $90,000 worth or extensive repair), however the La Reve still warranted a heavy price.