Salvador Dali's 7 Most Expensive Paintings (2022)

Salvador Felipe Jacinto first saw the light of day in Figueras, Spain on May 11, 1904. A Catalan family of notable personalities and intellectuals, friends of Picasso's, encouraged the young Dali to embrace an artistic career. At the age of six he wanted to be a cook, at seven he wanted to be Napoleon, and his ambitions continued to grow in time. The mesmerizing city of Barcelona, with its Guell Park and Gaudi's Sagrada Familia inspired his first aesthetic impressions. When he was only 16, he wrote down in his notebook: “I will be a genius, and the world will admire me. Perhaps I'll be despised and misunderstood, but I'll be a genius, a great genius, I'm certain of it.” Interesting how he could foresee his future with such accuracy.

Dali set off on an artistic journey from Eclectic Cubism to Purism and Surrealism. However, he never gave up on his “objective” aesthetics. For him, surreality was contained by reality. He did not follow any rule, which is why he was at one point eliminated from the Surrealist group of artists. However, this didn't stop him from referring to himself as the only artist capable of capturing and depicting surreal forms. He adapted a paranoiac-critical method, which is why he is often called the Great Paranoiac, with reference to his famous painting.

Sought after by art collectors, it is impossible not to recognize at least one of his paintings. His most famous canvas, painted in 1931, Persistence of memory is commonly referred to as the Melting Clocks, and is currently in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York. He captured images transcending from extraordinary fantasy to stupefaction, obsessive themes in which the universe is dominated by eroticism, sadism, scatology, and putrefaction, stepping on the fine line between genius and madness. His dreamscapes in vivid colors are morphological echoes, eccentric apparitions fueled by his megalomania and cult of personality. They are his dreams and nightmares on canvas.


7 Nude on the Plaine of Rosas: $4 Million

Salvador Dali's 7 Most Expensive Paintings (1)

Nu dans la plain de rosas, or Nude on the Plain of Rosas, was painted in 1942, when Dali was living in America. In 1939, as soon as World War 2 burst out, he left Europe. His wife Gala being Jewish was one of the reasons, the other was that he simply could have not faced a totalitarian regime. It's actually interesting to see how he predicted the imminence of the war and regime in many of his 1930's works. The canvas was commissioned by Helena Rubinstein, who wanted to decorate her dining room in her Park Avenue apartment. It depicts a nude figure laying on one side that can be viewed from behind, looking in the distance from a portico at her hero fading in the horizon. It was sold by Christie's in 2009 for a whopping $4 million.

(Video) Salvador Dali - most expensive paintings

6 My wife, naked looking at her own body, which is transformed into steps, three vertebrae of a column, sky and architecture:$4.76 Million

Salvador Dali's 7 Most Expensive Paintings (2)

Ma femme nue regardant son propre corps devenir merches, trois vertrebes, d'une colonne, ciel et architecture, or My Wife, Naked Looking at her own Body, which is Transformed into Steps, Three Vertebrae of a Column, Sky and Architecture was painted in 1945, when Dali was living in New York, and believed he had finally discovered the true way to paint. It depicts his wife Gala sitting naked with her back facing the viewer, an allegorical vision of morphological echoes.

Gala was a Russian born in Kazahstan who married Surrealist Paul Eluard. Their marriage and daughter did not stop the two from leading a libertine life, engaging Eluard in a sexual frenzy he simply adored. Dali met her at the same time when he met the poet, and he instantly knew she was the incarnation of his childhood dreams, his little Russian. In fact, he owes much of his inspiration to Gala and her liberating influences. His muse and counselor transformed into an obeying and beloved Mrs. Dali. A unique anthropomorphic vision, the painting was sold by Sotheby's at a London auction in 2000.

5 Night Specter on the Beach, $5.68 Million

Salvador Dali's 7 Most Expensive Paintings (3)

Yet another one of Dali's enigmatic dreamscapes, Night Specter on the Beach, or Spectre du soir sur la plage was painted in 1935 and is a fine example of his visionary Surrealist works. It is believed that the beach is at Rosas in Costa Bravas, a beach he frequented as a child. The same beach appeared in other paintings as well. Depicting far away figures under a mysterious sky covered by glimmering clouds, and a man in the foreground gazing in the distance, it stands to show how one look at Dali's paintings will not even get you close to beginning to understand his genius and vision. Night Specter on the Beach was sold by Sotheby's in 2010 in New York for $5.68 million, becoming the most expensive Dali painting sold at an American auction.

(Video) 100 Stunning Paintings by Salvador Dali

4 Study for 'Honey is Sweeter than Blood': $6.8 Million

Salvador Dali's 7 Most Expensive Paintings (4)

Etude pour 'Le miel est plus doux que le sang', or Study for 'Honey is Sweeter than Blood' in English is Dali's first Surrealist picture, proof to his progression from Cubism toward capturing subconscious obsessions on canvas. It is of even greater value as it is the study for the painting Honey is Sweeter than Blood, painted in 1927, which has been lost and is believed to have been destroyed. On the background of a beach scene lay rotting donkeys, decapitated horses, sleeping heads, levitating breasts, and needles. It was painted in 1926, when Dali was only 23, and it became one of his landmark works. In 2011, it was sold by Christie's in London for $6.8 million.

3 Enigmatic Elements in a Landscape:$11 Million

Salvador Dali's 7 Most Expensive Paintings (5)
(Video) 1965 Salvador Dali "Drawers of Memory" Lithograph | Portland, Hour 2 | Preview

Dali painted without interruption, and it's only natural that not all his paintings be as popular. However, everyone was thrown back when this painting that only few have heard about fetched $11 million in 2011. Painted in 1934 in Paris, Enigmatic Elements in a Landscape is an oil-panel work, supremely Surrealistic and Dalian, in which many enigmatic elements are intertwined under a dazzling sky. On the wide lane of Port Lligat viewers can see Jan Vermeer, one of Dali's idols, working at his easel. Before him lays an enigmatic tower and cypress trees, common in the Spanish countryside the artist grew up in, while a shrouded figure adds the habitual enigma. There are the customary hugging beans, and a young Dali upon the landscape wearing a sailor suit and holding a bone and hoop. The absinthe green enveloping the dreamscape is one of the painter's favorite colors. Enigmatic Elements in a Landscape was purchased by Fundacio Gala Salvador Dali and can now be admired at the Dali Theater-Museum in Figueras.

2 Printemps Necrophilique:$16.3 Million

Salvador Dali's 7 Most Expensive Paintings (6)

Set in a barren desolate desert, the type of landscape Dali preferred in many of his works, Printemps necrophilique, or Necrophiliac springtime stands as an allegory for the painter's paranoia, his conscience shifting toward illusion. Painted in 1936, Printemps necrophilique depicts a seated seated man and a flower-headed woman on the left, separated by a cypress tree, the woman looking toward the viewers, while the man gazes at the blurred landscape. The desert slowly fades from hyperrealistic to hallucinatory. Originally owned by fashion designer and Dali's close friend Elsa Schiaparelli, the canvas went under the hammer in 2012 in London, and was sold by Sotheby's for $16.3 million.

1 Portrait de Paul Eluard:$22.4 Million

Salvador Dali's 7 Most Expensive Paintings (7)

In April 1929, while shooting Andalusian Dog in Paris, Dali met Surrealist poet Paul Eluard. The two immediately clicked. Eluard was stunned by the painter's canvases and vision, and Dali in turn was amazed by his elegance and ease with women. In the same year, he bought his first paintings and commissioned a portrait. Portrait de Paul Eluard shows the admiration between the two men, as the poet is surrounded by completely new elements of Dali's imagery, proof to their intimate connection. When he met Eluard, Dali also met his wife at the time Gala, who would later become his muse and lover. Given the couple's nonconformist relationship, is it possible that Eluard used Gala to obtain the portrait? After all, he did use her before to acquire art works for free. Painted in the summer of 1929, Portrait de Paul Eluard was sold by Sotheby's in 2011 at a London auction. The price? Hold on tight! A staggering $22.4 million. It became the most expensive of Dali's canvases sold to date and the most expensive Surrealist work of art ever sold.


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Salvador Dali's 7 Most Expensive Paintings (9)

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(Video) Leonardo da Vinci's 'Salvator Mundi' | 2017 World Auction Record | Christie's


How much are Dali's paintings worth? ›

Salvador Dalí's work has been offered at auction multiple times, with realized prices ranging from 4 USD to 21,743,488 USD, depending on the size and medium of the artwork. Since 1998 the record price for this artist at auction is 21,743,488 USD for Portrait de Paul Éluard, sold at Sotheby's London in 2011.

What is Salvador Dali's most famous painting called? ›

The Persistence of Memory is a painting produced by Salvador Dali in 1931. This painting is best known for its Surrealism style and also known by the name Melting Clocks. The theme of this painting is time which is painted in different meaning representing that time is melting.

Where are Dali's most famous paintings? ›

Most of his paintings are housed in Spain at the Dalí Theater-Museum in Figueres, the Salvador Dalí House in Port Lligat, and the Gala Dalí Castle in Púbol.

Who bought the 400 million dollar painting? ›

The painting was sold at auction for US$450.3 million on 15 November 2017 by Christie's in New York to Prince Badr bin Abdullah Al Saud, setting a new record for the most expensive painting ever sold at public auction.

Who bought the 110 million dollar painting? ›

Estimated at US$60 million dollars, Maezawa acquired the painting for a record-breaking US$110 million dollars. This meant that Basquiat overtook his friend, Andy Warhol's US$105-million-dollar painting, Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster, 1963), as the most valuable American artist.

What is Salvador Dalis most expensive painting? ›

5: Portrait of Paul Eluard

This painting is the most expensive Salvador Dali artwork ever sold to date, bringing in a whopping 22.5 million dollars at a Sotheby's art auction in 2011.

How much is the melting clocks painting worth? ›

As a result, it's likely that The Persistence of Memory would sell for anywhere from 50 to 150 million dollars.

How much is the Mona Lisa worth? ›

Mona Lisa's Record Valuation

If you account for inflation, she's worth over $834m in today's money.

How much is a real Rembrandt painting worth? ›

LONDON (Reuters) - A Rembrandt painting unseen in public for nearly 40 years sold for a record 20.2 million pounds ($33.2 million) at auction in London on Tuesday, the highest ever paid at auction for the 17th century artist.

Where is the largest collection of Dalí? ›

With the exception of the Dalí Theater-Museum created by Dalí himself in his hometown of Figueres in Spain, the St. Petersburg Dalí Museum has the world's largest collections of Dalí's works.

Where is the largest Picasso collection? ›

The Museu Picasso maintains one of the largest permanent collections of artwork by the famed artist Pablo Picasso. Housed within 5 adjacent medieval palaces on Barcelona's Montcada Street, the museum's expansive collection contains over 4,000 pieces of Picasso's works.

What are the 10 most expensive painting in the world? ›

Top 10 Most Expensive Paintings in the World​
1. Three Studies of Lucian Freud by Francis Bacon2. Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer II by Gustav Klimt
3. The Masterpiece by Roy Lichtenstein4. Pendant Portraits of Maerten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppit by Rembrandt
4 more rows

What is the rarest painting ever? ›

The most valuable painting in history must surely be the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci. Although it is considered priceless, we can determine some numerical value by looking at the insurance value of the painting. In 1962 the masterpiece was assessed at a value of $100 million.

Who owns the most expensive painting? ›

The Most Expensive Paintings Ever sold
Mark RothkoNo. 6 (Violet, Green and Red)$186 million
Pablo PicassoLes Femmes d'Alger$179.4 million
RembrandtThe Standard Bearer$197.9 million
Amedeo ModiglianiNu couché$170.4 million
20 more rows

Who owns the male Mona Lisa? ›

It works; the painting is purchased for a record $400 million by Mohammed bin Salman, crown prince of Saudi Arabia, and now allegedly sits on his super yacht.

Who owns Mona Lisa? ›

It had been believed to have been painted between 1503 and 1506; however, Leonardo may have continued working on it as late as 1517. It was acquired by King Francis I of France and is now the property of the French Republic. It has been on permanent display at the Louvre in Paris since 1797.

Can you buy the Mona Lisa? ›

Truly priceless, the painting cannot be bought or sold according to French heritage law. As part of the Louvre collection, "Mona Lisa" belongs to the public, and by popular agreement, their hearts belong to her.

Who inherited Basquiat fortune? ›

The Estate was administered by Gerard Basquiat, the late artist's father, until his passing in 2013. It is currently administered by the late artist's sisters, Jeanine Heriveaux and Lisane Basquiat.

Who is the richest painter alive? ›

John Currin

John Currin is currently the richest painter in the world, with an estimated worth of a whopping $1.4 billion thanks to his unique and sought-after painting style.

Why is Basquiat so expensive? ›

Untitled, created when Basquiat was just 21, became the sixth most expensive work sold at auction, and the most expensive from an American and an African-American artist. The appeal of Basquiat's work has always been “a combination of raw talent, compelling biography, and limited supply" (New York Times).

Are Dali prints worth anything? ›

Salvador Dali paintings are extremely valuable, with paintings often fetching millions of dollars at Auction. Even his smaller pieces, prints, and films can sell for tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

What is the most expensive lithograph? ›

The top lot was Marc Chagall's Four Tales from the Arabian Nights, 1948, a complete set of 12 lithographs in colors, which sold for £217,000 ($336,738) on an estimate of £200,000/300,000.

What old paintings are worth money? ›

The 200 Most Valuable Paintings in private hands
  • Vincent Van Gogh – Selbstbildnis mit verbundenem Ohr und Pfeife – 1889.
  • Henri Matisse – Le Jeune Marin I – 1906.
  • Willem de Kooning – The Time of the Fire.
  • Gustav Klimt – Wasserschlangen II Freundinnen – 1907 – Oil on canvas – 80 x 145 cm – Private collection.

How do you price old paintings? ›

Multiply the painting's width by its length to arrive at the total size, in square inches. Then multiply that number by a set dollar amount that's appropriate for your reputation. I currently use $6 per square inch for oil paintings. Then calculate your cost of canvas and framing, and then double that number.

Are Salvador Dali lithographs worth anything? ›

Starting bids for some lithographs are well below $1,000. For example, the work below Birth of Venus, 1979, a lithograph in colors on Arches paper carries a pre-auction estimate of $800-$1,200. See all Salvador Dali art for sale and view past sale prices.

Whats the most expensive painting ever sold? ›

This is a list of the highest known prices paid for paintings. The current record price is approximately US$450.3 million (which includes commission), paid for Leonardo da Vinci's Salvator Mundi ( c. 1500).

How many times has the Mona Lisa been stolen? ›

To look back on this unusual art-historical lineage, ARTnews has charted below five times in which the Mona Lisa was vandalized or stolen.

How much is a real Picasso painting worth? ›

Pablo Picasso paintings are worth millions of dollars, ranging up into the hundreds of millions for major works. This is reflective of his place in the pantheon of great art from the 20th century. Multiple paintings have sold for hundreds of millions of dollars.

How much is van Gogh's sunflowers worth? ›

How much is 'Sunflowers' worth? When Van Gogh's own copy of the original version went on auction at Christie's, as much as 40 million dollars was paid to purchase it. Taking into account inflation, this painting would have cost $100m. It was purchased by Tokyo-based Yasuda insurance company.

How much is a painting by Leonardo da Vinci worth? ›

Leonardo da Vinci's work has been offered at auction multiple times, with realized prices ranging from 11 USD to 450,312,500 USD, depending on the size and medium of the artwork.

Why is Mona Lisa so valuable? ›

Indeed, the Mona Lisa is a very realistic portrait. The subject's softly sculptural face shows Leonardo's skillful handling of sfumato, an artistic technique that uses subtle gradations of light and shadow to model form, and shows his understanding of the skull beneath the skin.

Who owns the world's largest art collection? ›

The largest art collection (Private) consists of 7,000 paintings, and is owned by King Charles III, as of 8 September 2022.

Where are Dalí's original paintings? ›

There are several museums devoted entirely to his works, including the Dalí Theatre and Museum, Figueres, Spain; the Salvador Dalí House Museum, Cadaqués, Spain; and the Salvador Dalí Museum, St Petersburg, Florida. Additionally, he is represented in the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Where is Dalí melting clock painting? ›

Salvador Dalí's surrealist masterpiece The Persistence of Memory (1931) showcases one of the artist's most iconic motifs: melting clocks. On permanent display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the hallucinatory painting features the limp clocks draped across branches, furniture, and even a sleeping human face.

Who owns the most Picasso? ›

Given that Nahmad owns about 300 of the Spanish genius' works, his forgetfulness is perhaps understandable. With such a princely trove - Nahmad says his Picasso collection is the world's largest in private hands - details sometimes get lost.

Who inherited Picasso's fortune? ›

Officially, there is only one legitimate heir to his vast inheritance: his granddaughter Marina Ruiz-Picasso. The artist had his first child, Paulo, with Russian dancer Olga Khokhlova, whom he married in 1918 during the First World War.

Do Picasso paintings go up in value? ›

“Picasso seems to be a strong blue-chip investment”, Kräussl says, adding: “As always, collectors should enjoy the work while it steadily increases in value.”

What is the most expensive painting ever stolen? ›

The largest art theft in world history occurred in Boston on March 18, 1990 when thieves stole 13 pieces, collectively valued at $500 million, from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Among the pieces stolen was Vermeer's The Concert, which is considered to be the most valuable stolen painting in the world.

What is the most expensive thing in the world? ›

According to Guinness World Records, the most expensive object on Earth is the Itaipu hydroelectric dam. The dam was constructed from 1971 to 1984 between Brazil and Paraguay on the Paraná River. It cost about $27 billion to build. Adjusting for inflation, that would equal just over $77 billion in 2022.

What's the most expensive piece of art? ›

1. Leonardo Da Vinci “Salvator Mundi” (1500) Last but not least, the most expensive and controversial painting ever sold at auction belongs to Leonardo de Vinci.

What is super rare art? ›

What is SuperRare? SuperRare is a marketplace to collect and trade unique, single-edition digital artworks. Each artwork is authentically created by an artist in the network, and tokenized as a crypto-collectible digital item that you can own and trade. You can think of SuperRare like Instagram meets Christies.

What paintings are priceless? ›

The Most Expensive Paintings in the World
  • Mona Lisa – Leonardo da Vinci. ...
  • Interchange – Willem de Kooning. ...
  • Nafea Faa Ipoipo (When Will You Marry?) ...
  • The Card Players — Paul Cézanne. ...
  • Number 17A – Jackson Pollock. ...
  • No. ...
  • Portrait of Marten Soolmans and Portrait of Oopjen Coppit — Rembrandt.

Why do billionaires buy expensive paintings? ›

Rich people buy paintings to diversify their portfolio, design their homes or to avoid tax.

What family owns the most art? ›

Ezra and David Nahmad – Value of Collection: $3 billion

These brothers own the most valuable art collection in the world, yet, ironically, are not art lovers themselves.

How much is the starry night worth 2022? ›

The Starry Night original painting by Vincent van Gogh, painted in 1889, is estimated to be worth over $100 million.

Where are Dali's original paintings? ›

There are several museums devoted entirely to his works, including the Dalí Theatre and Museum, Figueres, Spain; the Salvador Dalí House Museum, Cadaqués, Spain; and the Salvador Dalí Museum, St Petersburg, Florida. Additionally, he is represented in the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

What do Dali's paintings mean? ›

Salvador Dali was one of the most famous and controversial artists of the Surrealist movement. The surrealists worked with the world of what's “surreal”, the dream world. Their paintings represent scenes that look real but could never really happen in the real world.

What is the most valuable Rembrandt? ›

Portraits of Maerten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppit (1634) by Rembrandt van Rijn. The Portrait of Maerten Soolmans and Portrait of Oopjen Coppit, both painted by Rembrandt in 1634, were acquired as a pair for $180 million, setting a new record for the price of his sold works.

How do I know if my Dalí is real? ›

“The Official Catalog of the Graphic Works of Salvador Dali” will list which editions are on what paper; if you find an edition size on paper that is not watermarked, it is likely this is an unauthorized restrike created after the intended signed Dali lifetime editions with a facsimile signature.

How do I authenticate my Dali print? ›

Prints that bear the Rives or Arches watermark with the infinity sign and have Dali's signatures, are fakes. Dali did not sign any prints after 1980. Fake Dali prints continue to circulate in the art market.

How do I know if my artwork is valuable? ›

Appraisals & Appraisers

Consider finding an appraiser to determine the value of your artwork. Appraisers are trained specialists who work for a fee. They evaluate your piece and give you a written statement of its value.

Why did Dalí paint melting clocks? ›

The famous melting clocks represent the omnipresence of time, and identify its mastery over human beings. It is said that his inspiration for the soft watch came from the surreal way that Dalí saw a piece of runny Camembert cheese melting in the sun.

Why did Dalí use butterflies? ›

For Dalí, who was obsessed with objects and figures that were hybrids and optical illusions, the butterfly was the perfect example of a natural agent of transformation—something that began as one creature and ultimately became another.

What art piece is worth the most money? ›

This is a list of the highest known prices paid for paintings. The current record price is approximately US$450.3 million (which includes commission), paid for Leonardo da Vinci's Salvator Mundi ( c. 1500).

What paintings are worth a lot of money? ›

These are the 20 most expensive paintings in the world:
  • Untitled – Jean-Michel Basquiat – $110.5 Million. ...
  • Reclining Nude With Blue Cushion – Amedeo Modigliani – $118 Million. ...
  • The Scream – Edvard Munch – $119.9 Million. ...
  • Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I – Gustav Klimt – 5 Million. ...
  • Woman III – Willem de Kooning – $137.5 Million.
1 Nov 2022


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