"Femme assise, robe bleu" (1939) by Pablo Picasso: $45,047,500 – On May 15, 2017, "Femme assise, robe bleu" a 1939 painting by Pablo Picasso, sold for $45 million at a Christie's auction in New York.
"Les femmes d'Alger (Version 'O')" (1955) by Pablo Picasso: $179,365,000 – Setting a world record for an artwork sold at auction when it was purchased by the Qatari royal family in 2015, Les femmes d'Alger is in many ways the quintessential collectible Picasso: bold colors, fragmented planes, nude women, and art historical references (in this case, to Delacroix and Matisse). The work had previously sold for $31.9 million in Christie's 1997 auction of the collection of Victor and Sally Ganz -- a sale that many say ignited the current art boom.
"Garçon à la pipe" (1905) by Pablo Picasso: $104,168,000 – Pablo Picasso's "Garçon a la Pipe" broke the $100 million ceiling when it sold at Sotheby's for over $104 million in May, 2004 -- the first painting to exceed the record set in 1990 for the "Dr.Gachet." (Interestingly, both "Dr. Gachet "and the "Garçon" achieved their record prices exactly 100 years after having been created by their artists.) Sotheby's Senior Vice President David Norman called the iconic painting "the finest work in public hands that was for sale."
"Femme assise" (1909) by Pablo Picasso: $43,269,000 – One June 21, 2016, Pablo Picasso's "Femme Assise," one of the artist's earliest Cubist paintings, sold for £43.2 million ($63.4 million) at a Sotheby's London auction, becoming the most expensive Cubist painting ever sold at auction.
"The Scream" (1895) by Edvard Munch: $119,922,500 – The sale of Edvard Munch's "The Scream" to billionaire Leon Black for $119.9 million in 2012 marked more than a new art record: it was the first time that a pastel, rather than an oil or acrylic painting, came anywhere near achieving such a price. This was in part due to the overwhelming popularity and international fame of the image, and the fact that it is the only version of Munch's signature work that is not owned by a museum.
"Abstraktes Bild" (1994) by Gerhard Richter: $34,190,757 – Rock star Eric Clapton sold his "Abstraktse Bild" by art star Gerhard Richter in 2012 for £21.3 million, establishing a new record for a living artist and the highest price ever paid for a Gerhard Richter painting. One of the most popular artists at the moment, the octogenarian has seen his work increase in value by over 600 percent in the past ten years, according to art market analysts. His oeuvre is celebrated as much for its range and versatility as for its virtuosity: his paintings tend to focus equally on the intellectual and the aesthetic. This is a particularly strong work, but the provenance -- coming from Clapton's private collection -- made the painting particularly attractive.
"Portrait of Dr. Gachet" (1890) by Vincent van Gogh: $82,500,000 – Vincent van Gogh's "Portrait of Dr. Gachet" rocked the art world in 1990 when it sold to Tokyo's Kobayashi gallery for $82.5 million at Christie's-- more than twice the previous auction record. A portrait of Van Gogh's doctor, Paul-Ferdinand Gachet, of whom the artist was particularly fond, the painting had belonged previously to financier and philanthropist Siegfried Kramarsky, on long-term loan to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
"Nurse" (1964) by Roy Lichtenstein: $95,365,000 – Christie's billed pop artist Roy Lichtenstein's nurse as the "quintessential Lichtenstein heroine," a "femme fatale," and called the painting itself a "dazzling masterpiece." Collectors must have been convinced, bidding the work up to a record price for the artist at $95,365,000 in November 2015.
"Nu couché" (1917-1918) by Amedeo Modigliani: $170,405,000 – Appetite for Modigliani's work had already been on the rise when this rare nude came up for sale. The work's extraordinary provenance, literature and exhibition history added to its desirability, helping it set a new record for the artist -- and one of the highest prices ever set at auction -- when it sold at Christie's in November, 2015 to a Chinese billionaire bidding by telephone.
"Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1" (1932) by Georgia O'Keeffe: $44,405,000 – Long one of America's favorite home-grown artists, Georgia O'Keeffe is celebrated mostly for her magnificent flower paintings -- like this Jimson Weed , which shattered all records for the highest price ever paid for a work by a woman artist -- nearly quadrupling the previous record of $11.9 million set by Joan Mitchell just a few months prior. What's more, the work was also purchased by a woman: Walmart heiress Alice Walton, who bought it on behalf of the Crystal Bridges Museum (of which she is the founder).