Most Expensive Paintings

The greatest paintings of all time used to be held in museums and shared with the general public.  In the past thirty years, more and more paintings have changed hands via auctions and private sales for figures that would astound the original artist.  In fact, the five most expensive sales total nearly a billion dollars (US).

Traditionally, museums consider that the greatest works of art, especially paintings and sculpture by the “old masters” are priceless.  In a few cases, certain paintings have been valued by insurance companies. Most notably, the Mona Lisa was valued at $100 million back in 1962.  In today’s currency that would be approximately $772 million.

Van Gogh paintingThe new era of high dollar art sales began in 1987 with the sale of “Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers” by Vincent van Gogh.  The price paid was $24.75 million. That figure is more than triple the previous high price paid for a painting. Adjusted for inflation the van Gogh sale represents $82 million. That adjusted figure puts it outside the top 30 sales of all time.

Below is a table of the most expensive paintings sold, showing both the original sale price and the inflation-adjusted price.  All prices are in millions (USD).

The Card Players, Paul Cézanne — $259+ ($269.40)

No. 5, 1948, Jackson Pollock — $140 ($162.70)

Woman III, Willem de Kooning — $137.50 ($159.80)

Le Rêve,  Pablo Picasso — $155 ( $155.90)

Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I,  Gustav Klimt — $135 ($155.80)

Portrait of Dr. Gachet,  Vincent van Gogh — $82.50 ($149.50)

Three Studies of Lucian Freud, Francis Bacon — $142.40  ($142.40)

Bal du moulin de la Galette, Pierre-Auguste Renoir — $78.10  ($141.50)

Garçon à la pipe, Pablo Picasso — $104.20  ($129.00)

The Scream, Edvard Munch — $119.90  ($122.20)

Flag, Jasper Johns —  $110.00  ($118.30)

Nude, Green Leaves and Bust, Pablo Picasso — $106.50  ($114.30)

Portrait of Joseph Roulin, Vincent van Gogh –$58 + exchange of works  ($111 +)

Dora Maar au Chat, Pablo Picasso –$95.20  ($110.10)

Irises, Vincent van Gogh –$53.90  ($109.40)

Jessica Logan is an artist and blogger who is especially interested in the money behind and around the art world.  She has written about famous artists and reviewed new artists as well as writing in depth analysis of the art industry for blogs and websites.  She has also covered purely financial topics like money mutual funds, the stock market, and the real estate industry.

The Rules of the Art Model

There are those for whom art
is a calling, a particular life path that makes it more than a hobby. For most painters, or most people learning the craft of it in a painting class, it’s a hobby that could one day turn into a calling. It’s better to investigate first, however, and take as much time, and as many classes, as possible, before making any decisions.

There’s no question that it offers innumerable rewards for everyone, including a sense of well-being, along with a great opportunity to learn some skills that apply to any art of making one’s surroundings more beautiful. Beginning artists are always concerned with these lofty things, but there are other, more basic questions, and one of the most common one is: what are the protocols, if any, for being in the same room with a live model ?

For any student artist, then, of any life path, there will be encounters with live models if the studio is genuinely committed to learning. The first encounters with a human being disrobing in front of a class are almost always uneasy, or even a little disarming. Even people who are completely comfortable with the idea will have a little bit of anxiety when it comes to the actual practice.

It’s no question that the quality of the work takes on a new level, and the essence of drawing or painting people deals with anatomical principles. These principles can only be hinted at with clothes. That part of it is fairly straightforward, but what are the rules?

Basically, what the student needs to keep in mind, are three simple things. Be polite, look at the model, and draw (or paint). Beyond that, any questions should be directed at the model coordinator . If the student needs a better view, or if it looks as though the pose has changed when it’s not supposed to, the coordinator is the one who makes the call, and the final judgments.

Never make unsolicited comments, especially at the very beginning. Some models like to establish a good repoir with classes, and some don’t, so let them be the guide. But never make inappropriate comments.

There may be some classes where the student might want to continue the work on their own. Some models will allow photographs, and some won’t. Best to ask the coordinator, and always tip the model in that situation. Allowing a photograph means that they are potentially losing income they could be earning by posing, so compensation is a good rule of thumb.

Good models are very hard to come by, and an attitude of mutual respect is one that will keep the good ones coming back. Every studio understands that. And every artist, whether it is their calling or their hobby, comes to learn that.

Free Space Pictures

Today marks the 50th Anniversary of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Over the past fifty years, NASA has brought America beautiful images of our planetary neighbors and distant, far off galaxies. Looking at the stars has been a popular pastime for generations, and it’s unlikely that our fascination with space will die out any time soon. After all, even just this summer audiences flocked to see the latest Pixar film, Wall-E, about robots and space ships soaring amongst the stars.

Bringing the solar system fun home or to the classroom is easier than ever, thanks to the NASA images website. The project is a massive collection of pictures from the universe, our solar system and the planets therein, the beautiful planet Earth, and our brave astronauts. Best of all, these space pictures can be used for free.

According to the NASA imagery and photo guidelines, “still images, audio files and video generally are not copyrighted. You may use NASA imagery, video and audio material for educational or informational purposes, including photo collections, textbooks, public exhibits and Internet Web pages.” If you’re looking for something to add some sparkle to your scrapbook or a little zest to your blog pages, why not use an image of the sun or some pictures of an eclipse? The possibilities really are endless, so don’t let this great resource go to waste.

Note: Just a reminder that the blue NASA logo isn’t free to use. They guard the copyright to their logo very closely. I used to intern for a company that had a partnership with NASA, and I vividly remember how strict they would be on the placement of their insignia and who could and could not publish it. Please be respectful and don’t don the NASA insignia or logo on anything without their permission.