Search
NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 15: A man holds his hand up while bidding on a work of art inside the auction house Christie's during the Post-War and contemporary Art sale November 15, 2006 in New York City. Christie's estimates that works by Warhol, Willem de Kooning, Roy Lichtenstein and others could go for up to $220 million in what the auction house says may be the most valuable post-World War II and contemporary art auction in history. Warhol's "Mao" portrait from 1972 went for over 17 million, setting an all time record for the artist.  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Spencer Platt—Getty Images

Record-setting art sales of a half-century

Feb 28, 2014

It was a triptych by the late Anglo-Irish painter Francis Bacon that blew away the art world last fall, fetching a record $142.4 million for any work when sold at a Christie's auction. Earlier this month, Christie's and rival Sotheby's (bid) generated more record sales for works by artists including Pablo Picasso, Juan Gris, and Camille Pissarro. Here, we take a look at the high-priced art sales that have made history over the past 50 years.

1961 Parke-Bernet Galleries (later acquired by Sotheby's) sells Rembrandt's Aristotle Contemplating the Bust of Homer to the Metropolitan Museum of Art for $2.3 million, at the time a record for any painting sold at auction.

1970 Diego Velázquez's Portrait of Juan de Pareja sells for $5.5 million to the art dealer Alec Wildenstein and is acquired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art the following year.

Auction house: Christie's

1985 Vincent van Gogh's Landscape With Rising Sun sells for $9.9 million, a record at the time for any Impressionist work.

Auction house: Sotheby's

1987 Vincent Van Gogh's Irises sells for $53.9 million, blowing away the previous Van Gogh record reached just two years earlier and setting a new world record for a painting sold at auction.

Auction house: Sotheby's

1989 Jacopo Pontormo's Portrait of a Halberdier is sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum for $35.2 million, an auction record for a painting by an Old Master.

Auction house: Christie's

1990 Pierre-August Renoir's Au Moulin de la Galette sells for $78.1 million -- to this day, an all-time record for the artist's paintings at auction.

Auction house: Sotheby's

1990 Van Gogh's Portrait of Dr. Gachet fetches $82.5 million, once again shattering the previous record.

Auction house: Christie's

2004 Picasso's Garçon à la Pipe sells for $104.2 million, nearly twice the previous high mark (set in 2000, at Christie's) for a Picasso work.

Auction house: Sotheby's

2012 Edvard Munch's The Scream is auctioned off in New York for $119.9 million after a 12-minute bidding frenzy.

Auction house: Sotheby's

Courtesy:

2013 Jeff Koons's Balloon Dog (Orange) sells for $58.4 million, a record for a living artist.

Auction house: Christie's

2013 Francis Bacon's triptych Three Studies of Lucian Freud is sold for $142.4 million, an all-time record for a work of art sold at auction.

Auction house: Christie's

All products and services featured are based solely on editorial selection. FORTUNE may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website.

Quotes delayed at least 15 minutes. Market data provided by Interactive Data. ETF and Mutual Fund data provided by Morningstar, Inc. Dow Jones Terms & Conditions: http://www.djindexes.com/mdsidx/html/tandc/indexestandcs.html. S&P Index data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. Terms & Conditions. Powered and implemented by Interactive Data Managed Solutions