brown wooden gavel on brown wooden table

Picasso’s priciest paintings total €1.1b, €396.9m more than Van Gogh

Many famous paintings are of value not only for what they represent or depict but for who painted them. So much so, they fetch millions when they go to auction.

Interested in alternative investments, sought to discover which famous artists are the most invested in, based on the most expensive paintings ever sold at auction*.

RankArtist nameNo. of paintings sold at auctionAverage value per painting sold at auction (EUR)Collective value of paintings sold at auction (EUR)
1Pablo Picasso1573.0M1.1B
2Andy Warhol887.9M703.1M
3Mark Rothko797.0M678.9M
4Willem de Kooning5112.4M562.1M
5Vincent van Gogh954.8M492.8M
6Amedeo Modigliani4113.7M454.7M
7Gustav Klimt3138.1M414.2M
8Francis Bacon582.0M410.1M
9Leonardo da Vinci1397.8M397.8M
10Claude Monet575.6M377.8M found that Pablo Picasso is the artist most invested-in at auction. To date, 15 of his most expensive paintings have sold at auction for a colossal 1.1 billion collectively. Out of the 15, ‘Les Femmes of d’Alger’ sold for the most at €158.4 million in 2015 to Qatari politician Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani. 

In second position is Andy Warhol. The American artist’s eight biggest paintings have sold at auction for a collective €703.1 million

Mark Rothko is in third place. Seven of his priciest paintings sold at auction have generated a total of 678.9 million. His work titled ‘No.20’ (€177 million) and ‘No.6’ (€164 million) fetched the most sizable sums. 

Interestingly, despite just having one of his paintings at auction, Leonardo da Vinci’s iconic ‘Salvator Mundi’sold for astonishing 397.8 million in 2017, making it the single most valuable painting in the world. 

At the other end in tenth position is French artist Claude Monet. To date, five of his priciest paintings have sold at auction for an accumulative 377.8 million.

The overall value of the 62 most influential paintings sold at auction of the artists in the top 10 equates to an eye watering €5.59 billion

Salman Haqqi, investing expert at, offers his guidance on what to consider before investing in artwork:

“Investing in paintings can be a lucrative way to diversify your asset portfolio, but before taking any action it is important to carry out some careful due diligence. Here are some top tips: 

“Immerse yourself – Try to better understand the art community by attending art exhibitions and auctions. When you do attend, don’t just admire the paintings, network to build valuable contacts with seasoned professionals in the art industry. 

“Understand the difference – Make sure you understand the difference between originals, prints, giclées and reproductions. Original is a one-of-a-kind work of art, print is a copy of a piece of art, giclées is the highest quality print available of a piece of art and reproductions are copies of original works without a limited run of printing.

“Maintenance – A painting will often only hold its value if it is in pristine condition – evaluate how you would store any purchased paintings and factor in variables such as sunlight exposure and room temperature/humidity.”

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