26 July, 2018

Why do People Pay so Much for Art?

When we hear or read that a painting has sold for an amount you cannot comprehend, how many times have you asked yourself, what are they buying?

The art market throws surprises when the finest artworks in the world head into auction or a private deal.

But what are they buying? Anyone can paint, though?

It's true that art comes from the soul of the painter and is a form of ultimate expression because it's real, raw, honest and fearless. You will receive fantastic insights into their values, ideals, meaning or purpose. 

There's a story behind every painting and the artist. Let's start our countdown!

5)   Jackson Pollock - Number 17A (Sold for $200m in 2016)

Jackson Pollock was an American painter most known for his abstract art. 

Artworks of this type are non-representational and don't look like anything. They show emotions such as anger, sadness or happiness. How you can see these emotions lie in the manner the artist paints the lines.

Pollock's shtick came from drip painting which involves the artist moving around the painting to dribble paint.  

Trivia - some of his paintings contain his own footprints!

A big influence of abstract expressionist artworks is automatism. This is where an artist will go into a painting with no idea what it will look like and rely on chance or an accident!

Safe to say chance was with Jackson on this one!

Trivia - Kenneth C. Griffin purchased the painting.

4) Paul Gauguin - Nafea Faa Ipoipo (Sold for $210m in 2015)

Moving on now, it's the controversial Paul Gauguin. He quit his job as a stockbroker and left his family for his hobby of art. 

Works by Gauguin are noticeable by their bold colours, unconventional body proportions and strong lines which distinguished him from other artists.

With no formal art training didn't stop Gaugin from inventing his own painting style! 

He had stints in Brittany which involved a tumultuous time with Van Gogh and sought refuge in Tahiti when he abandoned western society.

Painted in 1892, Nafea Faa Ipoipo has influences from his time in Tahiti.

Trivia - Sheikha Al-Mayassa bit Hamad Al-Thani bought the painting.

3) Paul Cézanne - The Card Players (Sold for $250m in 2012)

Respected in the world of art is French artist, Paul Cézanne. 

Credited as laying the foundations which connect the 19th century impressionism and the beginning of the 20th century's Cubism, he 's a father figure to the likes of Matisse and Picasso.

A keen eye for the necessities, he created the 5-painting card players' series which portray men playing cards.

They differ in size and illustrate his endeavour to find a solution to what he called 'spatial awareness'. He ended up going from including spectators to just painting the people playing cards!

Trivia - The State of Qatar bought the painting in 2012.

2) Williem de Kooning - Interchange (Sold for $300m in 2015)

Williem de Kooning was a Dutch abstract expressionist artist. 

He moved to America where he started painting abstract expressionist pieces. Another notable abstract artist was Jackson Pollock who features on this list. 

De Kooning became engrossed with abstract paintings as he continued painting them. 

This artwork, painted in 1955, was one of de Kooning’s first ventures into abstract painting. 

Trivia - Kenneth C Griffin bought this painting in 2015.

1) Leonardo Da Vinci - Salvator Mundi (Sold for $450.3m in 2017)

The Salvator Mundi is one of the most controversial paintings in recent times - this isn't a good thing. 

You don't get to number 1 without making a few enemies. The amount of scrutiny this painting has received is as incredible as the price paid for it. 

The questions are of its provenance because 200 years is missing! That isn't a problem, though? Hold that thought. 

Sold in 1958 for £45, it appeared 50 years later in Louisiana. In a damaged state and painted over, an American-lead consortium paid $10k for it. 

After a restoration, it became authenticated as a Da Vinci. The process took 6 years because of questions regarding its existence. 

Trivia - Abu Dhabi’s department of culture and tourism purchased the painting and is a flagship attraction at the Louvre Abu Dhabi.

What is Provenance?

Provenance is used to help track the ownership of a painting throughout its existence. It plays a big part in the purchase of an artwork because it sets the tone for what you'll become a part of.

There's a saying "You're only as good as the company you keep". If an artwork has an exclusive provenance of notable owners both past and present, this will make the artwork valuable. I mean, being a part of that club? Who wouldn't? If you had the money of course.

Final Words

The paintings featured in this top 5 countdown have everything. The controversy with the Salvator, the struggle endured by Gauguin, the revolution under Cézanne and so much more. There's no shortage of excitement surrounding all of these paintings and the artists themselves. 

The astronomical prices are understandable though. Why? Art is known to gain value as time goes by. During troubling economic times, artworks appear invulnerable to all economic environments. Is there anything better to invest in?

We hope you enjoyed the article as much as we did writing it. Which painting do you like the most from the list? Hit the share button and let us know.

The Journal is getting bigger every week, head over there for great content.

Most Expensive Artworks Ever Sold - William George & Co.
Most Expensive Artworks Ever Sold - William George & Co.
Most Expensive Artworks Ever Sold - William George & Co.
Most Expensive Artworks Ever Sold - William George & Co.
Most Expensive Artworks Ever Sold - William George & Co.