In the wake of Christie’s recording breaking sale of Picasso’s Les Femmes d’Alger, howmuch.net created a world map out of the world's most expensive paintings. Art is often valued based on its aesthetic qualities and the meaning or message embedded within them, but in recent years, the art market has been saturated by business interests, resulting in paintings being traded according to their perceived returns on investment. “More and more, the super rich are relying on rare works as part of their investment portfolios,” howmuch.net writes in their accompanying article. The site notes Christie's stats that “global sales of impressionist and modern art were $1.2 billion in 2014, a 19% increase over 2013.”
In this map of the world’s most expensive artworks, country borders are defined by their highest grossing painting. Separated by continents, the area of each country is filled in by an image of the most expensive painting sold there. The United States is filled with Warhol’s Silver Car Crash piece, which sold for over $105 million. Mexico is marked by Rufino Tamayo’s Travador, valued at $7.2 million.
The real money in art realty, however, seems to be in Europe. In addition to Spain’s Picasso, Europe is home to Frenchman Claude Monet, whose Le Bassin aux Nympheas was last sold for $80.5 million, as well as British painter Francis Bacon, who painted the Three Studies of Lucian Freud, today worth more than $142 million.
howmuch.net concludes, “All of these maps show just how much cultural diversity there is around the World. However, they are also useful for illustrating the accumulation of wealth in rich nations. Art tends to be more highly valued by people living in countries with larger economies.”
Check out each continent's most expensive paintings below:
Visit howmuch.net for more.