The Most Expensive Art Purchases of 2011

Classical Pieces at 9 Figure Prices

When it comes to investment value, nothing truly invests quite like a work of art. The most famous pieces are always in demand, always accumulating value and worth, and in 2011, some of these pieces fetched eight and even nine figure purchasing prices. The top piece of 2011 is rumored to have sold for over $250 million. So let’s take a look at these great pieces of art.

Les Joueurs de Cartes

The Card Players Series by Paul Cezanne

The top art sale of 2011 is reportedly a private sale coming in at $259 million. An anonymous buyer bought one of the paintings in the The Card Players series by Paul Cezanne. The painting, entitled Les Joueurs de cartes, is one of the Top 3 most desirable paintings in the world and was owned by George Embricios, a Greek billionaire who passed away last year. Thus far, this is the most expensive painting in history.

Darmstadt Madonna, by Hans Holbein the Younger

Darmstadt Madonna by Hans Holbein the Younger

It may not have sold for $259 million, but the sale of the Darmstadt Madonna, one of the 50 most desirable paintings in the world, to Reinhold Wurth makes an appearance on this list because of its astounding purchase price of $70.3 million. Completed in the early 1500′s, this painting is a testament to the unwavering Catholic faith of its subjects, who are grouped around Madonnna and the infant Jesus. Unlike other oil paintings which are on canvas, the Darmstadt Madonna is painted on wood and reflective of the Italian Renaissance period paintings from that period.

Eagle Standing on Pine Tree

Eagle Standing on Pine Tree by Qi Baishi

China’s art market is soaring. Qi Baishi is regarded as one of the most influential modern Chinese artists. He was self-taught and focused on natural subjects such as animals, plants, and landscapes. Qi Baishi painted Eagle Standing on Pine Tree in 1946 and in 1947 it was presented to former Chinese leader Chiang Kai-shek for his 60th birthday. It was sold at auction for $65 million.

Zhichuan Resettlement by Wang Meng

Zhichuan Resettlement by Wang Meng

Wang Meng, an artist from the Yuan Dynasty in China was considered one of the four great masters of the dynasty. Unlike other works of art from that period, Wang Meng utilized paper more than silk for his artistic renderings. Zhichuan Resettlement is painted on a scroll of paper.  Many Chinese consider this artwork to be a national treasure and it was sold for $62.1 million,  setting a record at the time. The buyer of this artwork is unknown, but many have pleaded that the owner keep it within the borders of China due to its national importance.

1949-A-No. 1 by Clifford Still

1949-A-No. 1 by Clifford Still

Rounding out the most expensive art purchases of 2011 is this striking piece in red and black strokes by Clifford Still. Not known for being a staple at auctions, many were surprised that the City and County of Denver would put some of his works up for sale. The sale is intended to create an endowment for an upcoming museum dedicated to Clifford Still in Denver. Purchased by a phone bidder through a chairwoman of Sotheby’s, the painting sold for $61.7 million, three  times more than expected. Another one of Still’s paintings sold for over $30 million in the same auction.