Sculptures and paintings were among the first forms of art, conveying the unwritten tale of our civilization to humanity. They are imbued with anthropological and cultural worth, and they inform us of how we envision and interpret the world around us, as well as how these views have gradually evolved through time as new trends emerge. In this article, we will be discussing some of the most expensive sculptures of all time.
The art of sculpting is the only kind of art in the world that has maintained its appeal from the birth of civilization! While we frequently hear about master painters’ paintings selling for millions of dollars, we don’t hear nearly as much about sculptures. So if you are wondering how costly can these sculptures be, below we have compiled a list of the 10 most expensive sculptures ever sold.
The majority of us have fond recollections of visiting museums and art galleries and being amazed by what we saw. But how much more incredible would it be to have one’s own private museum, filled with some of the world’s finest works of art? There are a few millionaires and billionaires out there that are truly blessed, and here are some of the most expensive sculptures ever sold.
Check out our list of the 10 most expensive sculptures ever sold:
1. L’Homme au doigt (Pointing Man) by Alberto Giacometti
In May 2015, a private collector paid US$141.3 million for L’ Homme au doigt, or ‘Pointing Man,’ making it the most expensive sculpture ever sold. Alberto Giacometti’s “most memorable and evocative sculpture” is the bronze statue he created in 1947. It is Giacometti’s only cast that has been hand-painted and is 5 feet 10 inches tall.
2. L’Homme Qui Marche I (Walking Man I) by Alberto Giacometti
In February 2010, Brazilian philanthropist and socialite Lily Safra purchased Giacometti’s 1961 tall, spindly bronze statue of a walking man, L’Homme qui marche I, for $104.3 million. This figure is even depicted on the Swiss currency of 100 francs! Giacometti is the only sculptor whose works have sold for more than $100 million, making him a master of contemporary art.
3. Chariot by Alberto Giacometti
One of Giacometti’s most prominent pieces, Chariot, a 145-cm-tall sculpture sold at Sotheby’s in 2014, enters the top three. The picture of the chariot, according to the artist, came to him in a dream. The artist most likely had the dream during a hospital visit in 1938, when he saw nurses moving medication carts. The sculpture brought $101 million at auction.
4. Rabbit by Jeff Koons
In 2019, this stainless steel bunny made history by being the most expensive artwork sold at auction by a living artist. After a heated bidding war, the hammer dropped at an astonishing $91 million. There was a lot of interest in this specific inflatable animal because it was the final remaining version (out of three) still in private hands.
5. La Jeune Fille Sophistiquée(Portrait of Nancy Cunard) by Constantin Brâncuși
This unusual sculpture in polished bronze, which originates from 1932 and sold at Christie’s for $71 million, is the second work by Brâncuși in this countdown. Nancy Cunard, a prominent figure from the Roaring Twenties, served as Brâncuși’s inspiration for the piece. Straight lines combining with curves, smooth surfaces whirling, while curving figures abruptly shrink and stagnate are only a few of the contrasts in the artwork. Without using customary figurative language, Brâncuși was able to express Cunard’s beautiful look.
6. Tête by Amedeo Modigliani
Tête was carved from a single block of limestone by Italian sculptor Amedeo Modigliani, who was passionate about sculpture as a kind of carving. In 2010, it was sold to a private collector for $59.5 million. The sculpture depicts a lady with backswept hair and a tribal mask in the form of an old god, with African influences. It’s one of the 27 sculptures Modigliani created throughout his lifetime.
7. Balloon Dog (Orange) by Jeff Koons
Balloon Dog (Orange), a massive sculpture in polished stainless steel by Jeff Koons, was exhibited by Christie’s in 2013. The renowned dog is one of five large-scale sculptures in various hues that make up the collection. A private collector paid $58.4 million for the artwork, making it the second most expensive sculpture by a living artist.
8. La Muse Endormie by Constantin Brâncuși
Constantin Brâncuși made this patinated bronze skull inlaid with gold leaf in 1913, and it was last auctioned at Christie’s in May 2017 for $57.4 million. Brancusi’s output was dominated by the topic of the sleeping head for over two decades. Brâncuși defied convention by eschewing adornment in favor of simple, essential shapes. The serene head is one of four casts produced in 1910 from a marble modeled after Baroness Renée Irana Franchon.
9. Guennol Lioness by Unknown
The Guennol Lioness was discovered in Baghdad, Iraq, and is thought to be around 5000 years old. An anthropomorphic lioness-woman with a very muscular figure is shown in this Mesopotamian limestone statue. It is “one of the few known masterworks from the birth of civilization to remain in private hands,” according to Sotheby’s. It was sold for $57.2 million to a private collector in 2007, making it the most expensive sculpture ever sold.
10. Nu De Dos, 4 État (Back IV) By Henri Matisse
Henry Matisse is most known as a painter, particularly for his use of vibrant colors and his ability to portray a feeling of fluidity and movement in his paintings. Pablo Picasso had a huge effect on contemporary art. He was a sculptor, nevertheless, and one of his works was auctioned for $53 million. He created a series of sculptures based on the human back that was also the biggest he had ever created.
Sculptures and paintings were among the first forms of art, conveying the unwritten tale of our civilization to humanity. They are imbued with anthropological and cultural worth, and they inform us of how we envision and interpret the world around us, as well as how these views have gradually evolved through time as new trends emerge. Some of the most expensive sculptures are mentioned above.
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