Archive for the 'Auctions' Category

25
May
17

There Is Truly Nothing Like A One-Of-A-Kind Object

When you find something that is one of a kind, it means that there is nothing else like it on the entire planet. This gives it a value that is beyond anything that we are used to in our modern world of reproductions and duplicates. These days nearly everything we buy is being made in a factory that is creating thousands of other units that are exactly the same as the one before it and the one that comes after. This has depreciated the respect and value for unique objects. People have started to consider everything as disposable and it drives a materialistic perspective that does not actually appreciate an object for what it truly is. While a factory-made item may serve a function for a few years, every day that passes, it falls in value and becomes just another regular item. However, when an item is one of a kind, it becomes something else and retains, if not gains, value with every day that passes.

ZAO WOU-KI

ZAO WOU-KI (Chinese born/French 1920-2013) Untitled “Abstract Composition,” Color etching on paper, Sold for $5,605

Rarity creates a certain sense of appreciation that can be understood by anyone who values something that is unlike anything else. When something is one of a kind, it stands above everything else and provides the owner with a sense of satisfaction to know that they are in possession of something that special beyond comparison. It is not easy to find something that is one of a kind, which is part of what makes it so special or coveted by others. It is like finding a hidden treasure at art auctions and although it may be passed between people or lost for years at a time, there is only ever one person who will be able to call it their own. Even if there are objects that are similar or serve the same purpose, when something is truly unique, it possesses a special characteristic that cannot be replicated in any way.

ANTON HENNING

ANTON HENNING (German, b.1964) “Portrait of a Matron in a Green Dress,” Mixed media on canvas, Sold for $6,490

Many people will spend years of their lives looking for a true one-of-a-kind item. They will scour art auctions and estate sales to find something that is more than just an item. They want to find something that contains a story or a meaning that is symbolized just by the existence of that unique item. It is not easy to do this, but it is possible. There is more than 7 billion people on this planet, but there can ever only be one of a truly original item. There are many different qualities that can make something unique such as historical value or artistic creation, but this does not change the fact that there is only one. Purchasing something that is one of a kind is the only way to own something that is more than it appears.

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12
Apr
17

End Of The Year Cleaning And Discovery

There comes a point at the end of the year, when people start to clean their homes and rid themselves of the clutter that has built up. While there is great satisfaction in having a clean and clear home, this can also be a risky time of year for the unknowing victims of the purge. There are many cases of people throwing extremely valuable items into the trash. Special or unique items that could have sold for thousands at California auctions, ends up on the curb to fall apart in the rain or get carried off by someone else. Most of the time, this goes by unnoticed, but occasionally, someone will find themselves antique shopping and realize that they $10,000 dining room table that they are looking at is the same one that they threw away last year. This can be heart-breaking and embarrassing as it is really represents a missed opportunity that was lost in the end of the year cleaning.

Don’t Throw Out Something Of Extraordinary Value

Although people want to enjoy a clean home, it is very important to carefully consider every item before it is tossed to the wayside. Many people would be shocked to discover that the old, ‘tacky’ painting in the living room is actually a classic and valuable painting from a respected artist. The items that are of extreme value are not always recognizable to every person. Particularly when something has been sitting around for a long time, people tend to lose their regard for it and begin to perceive it as clutter. California auctions are packed with items that are extremely valuable, but for many of them, the original owner will never see a dime because they decided to throw it away or sell it for a few dollars at last year’s garage sale.

It is not always the owner’s fault, but sometimes a careless wife or ignorant husband will toss something away while they are cleaning, only to discover their mistake when it is too late. However, this can be avoided if care is taken when getting rid of antique furniture, old paintings, and other odd objects. People have a tendency of taking things at face value, but when their is historic significance or artistic integrity encapsulated in an item, it is not always as obvious to the untrained eye. This is why it can be extremely valuable to bring in an expert on antiquities to look over the items that a person wants to get rid of. It is not necessary to keep the grandfather clock in the hallway, but if it is going to be removed, the owner should at least get the value that it is worth for it.

MAQBOOL FIDA HUSAIN

Discovered at the Free Appraisal Event at Michaan’s Auctions: MAQBOOL FIDA HUSAIN (Indian born worked in England 1915-2011) Nude figure with creature Ink on tissue laid on paper, Sold for $2,242 at Michaan’s Auctions

 

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27
Mar
17

Huanghuali Creates History In Asian Antiquities

Huanghuali is a special type of wood that has been used to make stunning Asian antiquities for centuries. The term Huanghuali can be translated to mean ‘yellow flowering pear’. It is a type of wood with stunning characteristics that comes from a certain type of fragrant rosewood. It is a type of wood that that is famous for creating masterful furniture during the Ming and Qing dynasties, but it is still widely used today to create high-quality furniture. Both antique huanghuali furniture and modern cuts of this wood are considered extremely rare as the tree that provides the wood is threatened near extinction due to overexploitation. While it would be considered unethical and illegal to buy new products made from huanghuali, the scarcity of this wood has made huanghuali antiquities even more valuable. Some art auctioneers have seen huanghuali antiques sell for thousands of dollars.

A Huanghuali Folding Horseshoe Back Armchair

A Huanghuali Folding Horseshoe Back Armchair, Late 20th Century, Sold for $9,440 at Michaan’s Auctions

Characteristics of a Luxurious Wood

Huanghuali wood usually possesses a yellowish brown color, but it can range from reddish brown to golden yellow. The highest quality huanghuali has a mesmerizing surface that seems to shimmer and reflect light in a particular way when it has been properly treated and polished. The grain ripples like water and reminds some of an infinite expanse of mountainous landscapes. It is a beautiful example of the majesty of nature and it possess many characteristics of hardwood that make it ideal for furniture building and artistic creations. It is a highly prized and coveted type of wood and antiques that are made of it are sold by art auctioneers all around the world for considerable sums of money. Anyone that sees a well-polished piece of huanghuali can immediately recognize why it is considered one of the finest woods in the world.

A Huanghuali Veneered Coffer

A Huanghuali Veneered Coffer, 19th Century, Sold for $35,400 at Michaan’s Auctions

Beautiful Antiques Inspired By Royalty

The majority of antiques made from huanghuali come from the Ming and Qing dynasty and were commissioned by members of the royal family. Due to the rarity of the wood, it was usually reserved for the highest quality furniture created by the best artisans. This makes huanghuali asian antiques extremely valuable in contemporary times. Particularly due to the threatened state of the tree, any antique furniture that is made of huanghuali is even more desirable and valuable. Art auctioneers continuously see huanghuali antiquities sell for much more than expected as eager bidders drive up the price at art auctions. The craftsmanship and the quality of the wood in many huanghuali pieces make them extremely durable against the tides of time and a beautiful possession that anyone would be proud to hold. No one should ever pass on the opportunity to own something of such great artistic and historical value, no matter the price.

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21
Mar
17

Filipino Art – A Small Island That Is Making Big Waves In The Art World

When most people consider art, they are not automatically drawn to the Philippines as a source of creativity and artistic expression. However, there are many famous artists and amazing pieces that are being produced on the tiny island and it is making a huge impact on the art scene all around the world. There is a long history of creative expression from the Philippines and it has finally started to gain the recognition that it deserves in art auction houses and galleries in many different countries. They are quickly becoming some of the most coveted pieces of art available on the market and they are selling for huge amounts of money. Filipino art is inspiring others to create, but it is an art form that cannot be truly emulated due to the history and cultural context of the country.

Artistic paintings were first introduced to the country by the Spaniards in the 16th Century. The Spaniards originally used ornate paintings to promote catholicism across the country, but this quickly evolved as the Filipinos took the art form and made it their own. Now, there are many famous Filipino artists who are respected for creating some of the most beautiful artworks that have ever been produced in the country.

Famous Filipino Artists

Juan Novicio Luna

Juan Luna is considered one of the first recognized and respected Filipino artists. He was a painter and sculptor in the late 1800s and was awarded a gold medal at the 1884 Madrid Exposition of Fine Arts. His work consisted of mostly historical scenes, but political commentary always surged beneath his brush strokes. His work is considered extremely valuable and it is some of the first respected art created within the country.

JUAN LUNA Y NOVICIO

JUAN LUNA Y NOVICIO (Filipino 1857-1899) “Sketch of a European Lady” Pen and ink on paper, Sold for $944 at Michaan’s Auctions

Lito Mayo

Lito Mayo is considered the ‘original punk’ of the Filipino art scene and he was active during the rise of modernism and contemporary work in the city of Manila. Although his career was short due to an early death, he was respected as an experimental artist and collaborator that helped establish the art scene in the Philippines. In a very short time, this Filipino artist was able to make a large impact in the art world.

Benedicto Cabrera

Benedicto Cabrera is a contemporary artist who was awarded the honor of the National Artist of the Philippines in 2006. He is a painter and is considered one of the best-selling artists from his generation. His work is recognized and desired all around the world and he is a well-respected and influential member of the Filipino and international art scene. Any person would be lucky to own one of his spectacular paintings.

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23
Jan
17

How the Artisans of Today Get their Inspiration from California Auctions

Artists, artisans, and creators are on a constant lookout for sources of inspiration. They’re searching for the next big idea that will drive them, as well as the spark that will ignite the flame of their ingenuity and creativity. In this vein, they often discover and channel inspiration from the past, from masters who paved the way in many different mediums. One of the most inspiring periods for many artisans is the 17th century.

Inspirational pieces from this period include everything from paintings and drawings, to sculpture and needlework, to clothing and architecture, to textile design, furniture design, and even book design. There are many examples of all of these items on the Internet and in books, but there are places artists can go where they can see these historic objects up close and in person. These places include art and antiques auctions in California.

MARY DeNEALE MORGAN

MARY DeNEALE MORGAN (Californian 1868-1948) “California Coastal Dunes” Watercolor on board

 

 

Inspiration-Gathering at California Auctions: Suggestions

Gathering inspiration is always a personal process, but there are tried-and-true ways to do it that have worked consistently for many artists and artisans. The number one rule that applies to inspiration-gathering, however, is that there are no rules. There is no limit to where an idea may come from because inspiration is everywhere.

The Value of In-Person Viewing

At auction houses, items up for sale may be displayed in a main gallery or showroom up to the point of sale. This gives people a chance to view and inspect them before bidding, but it also affords artisans and creatives a unique opportunity to interact with rare, historic, or valuable pieces from the past in person. Viewing something in real life is far different from looking at a picture of it on the web or in a book, and a whole new cache of ideas may spring from seeing an art piece or historic item in 3D.

 

Spanish Baroque Style Trestle Table with Iron Stretchers

Spanish Baroque Style Trestle Table with Iron Stretchers

Questions to Ask to Generate New Ideas

With these things in mind, collecting inspiration depends on what intrigues a particular person, not to mention what stands out to them about an object, situation, person, place, or idea. However, some people need a push to get them thinking in a way that generates new concepts. Here are some thoughts that may be helpful when pursuing the muse at auction houses:

What story does the piece depict? Are there multiple possible stories?

Look at the evidence of wear on the item, if any. Note its condition. What does this say about the usefulness of the piece? Try to imagine what kind of people would have used it, and in what ways.

Think about the value of the piece. If it is a painting or art object, why is it valuable? If it is a furniture piece or other “useful” item, why is it so treasured today?

Note the colors in or on the piece. How are they related — are they primary or secondary colors, for instance? Do they evoke nature? Think about why the artist or artisan chose them.

Is there a recurring pattern or motif on the object? What is it?

These questions are relevant when viewing any item or art piece for inspiration, not just 17th century or antique pieces. With the right mindset, inspiration can be drawn from any decade.

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18
Jan
17

How the Designs of the Past Influence Trends of the Future

Trends come in cycles. It’s apparent in everything from fashion to interior design to art and lifestyle movements. They do come about as reactions to past trends and ways of living, but many trends are simply recycled versions of what came before. Seasoned designers understand this cycle and use it to their advantage. This is why art auctions are so valuable in the design world.

Ostervig Rosewood Dining Set

Ostervig Rosewood Dining Set

What’s Old Becomes New Again

Many trends hearken back to past decades for inspiration. Interior designers know how these trends come about and in many cases can even predict them. They additionally understand the fundamental aspects of classic trends that repeat themselves over the years. These aspects include functionality, simplicity, and balance. When pieces from history resurface at auction with some combination of these attributes, they will look good well into the future in addition to right now. Seasoned interior designers can spot these hallmarks of classic design from a mile away.

Art Auctions Offer the Best of Old Trends Making a Comeback

Classic furniture and decor will never go out of style. These are crafted from sturdy, fine materials like wood, stone, and metal, and have simple lines. If they do have details, they are elegant and not over-the-top. Auctions are a treasure chest for finding items like these, ones that will look good in any home. One of the reasons for this is that people tend to keep what’s timeless, and so an item is handed from person to person and lives a long life before eventually making its way onto an auction block.

However, trendy pieces are also hallmarks at an auction. Consider the mid-century modern trend, which finds its roots in the 1950s and 60s. New pieces are being manufactured and sold in modern stores that exactly mirror pieces from 60 years ago. Go to an auction, however, and one can find original mid-century modern furniture made in the era that birthed it.

Pair of Knoll Mies Van der Rohe Brown Leather Upholstered Barcelona Chairs

Pair of Knoll Mies Van der Rohe Brown Leather Upholstered Barcelona Chairs

Good Designers Respect the Past

No décor was created in a vacuum. All design springs from inspiration from other sources. Good interior designers are well aware of this fact and use it to their advantage. They have respect for original pieces from past eras that are in style again, and they understand how past trends can morph into something new.

Art Auctions are one of the best places to find where trends start, or where inspiration for new trends is born in the first place. This format specializes in the sale of the unique, the historic, the valuable, and the special. At auction, what is old and has potentially lost its value for one person transforms into something new and full of value for someone else. In this vein, good interior designers are able to see the potential in objects, art, furniture, and the like that perhaps have not made it back onto the trend radar. In these instances, a new trend might be in the wings.

13
Dec
16

Reasons Why Buying Antiques from Estate Liquidators is a Good Investment

Antiques, whether this includes furniture, art, paintings, or objects that once served a practical use but are now decorative, are a good investment. This is true for many reasons. Those who purchase antiques from auctions and estate liquidators will soon find out just how well they spent their money. These reasons have everything to do with history, longevity, quality, style, and stories.

Italian Neoclassical Marquetry Walnut Commode

Italian Neoclassical Marquetry Walnut Commode

The Value of Antiques for Modern Life

They Each Have a Story

Antiques have had a whole life before buyers swoop in to give them new ones. They probably had multiple owners; sat, hung, or were placed in multiple locations, homes, and rooms; and maybe even had multiple purposes beyond their intended uses. An antique chair could have been someone’s favorite reading spot 100 years ago, or where the head of a family sat for dinner every evening, 150 years ago. Sometimes the stories are known, and sometimes they aren’t, but in the latter cases, it’s satisfying to imagine what they are.

They Have History

Besides stories, antiques have a history. They were made in a different time, a different place, and a different era with manners, customs, etiquette, and ideas that are quite possibly long gone. Their history reveals what was important, worth noticing and remembering, to the people who made them and cherished them.

They’re Well-Made

Antiques have lasted throughout the years, sometimes hundreds of years, for a reason. They were probably crafted by hand with care and attention. This craftsmanship is a very good sign that they will last for a few hundred more years.

Granted, antiques require care. However, the fact that an object has stood the test of time in the first place is a good marker of its continued lasting quality. Better yet, even if an antique acquires a few scratches, marks, scuffs, or dings along the way during its long life, most antique enthusiasts will tell you that these are simply marks of character.

They’re Timeless

Some trends never go out of style. There’s a reason antiques look classic in any room and any situation. Their construction, lines, and design are timeless. They defy trends. These are wonderful pieces to add to a home’s décor for this reason. The investment is returned through the years of use the antique will provide, not to mention the enduring beauty it will afford. Some antiques, like wooden furniture, even get better with age as they acquire a patina.

Watson Art Nouveau Sterling Silver Three Piece Epergne

Watson Art Nouveau Sterling Silver Three Piece Epergne

Antiques from Estate Liquidators Have Enduring Value

While purchasing an antique piece is an investment, it is one that usually pays off. Antiques have the advantage of being well-made, which has helped them to last through multiple ownerships and all kinds of different uses. They also have a history as well as stories attached to them, which perhaps makes them more special than the run-of-the-mill items one might find at a big box store or furniture outlet. When one purchases an antique, they are truly buying quality as well as a piece of that history for themselves.

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07
Dec
16

5 Unique Items That Only Could Have Been Sold at Auction

Auctions regularly sell items that are unique, mysterious, intriguing, or just plain weird. The selling platform is perfect for these kinds of objects, as usually they were once part of someone’s collection or an eccentric’s estate. There is no other place in the world where items of both enduring value and unique provenance are bought and sold. Some examples of one-of-a-kind items sold at auction illustrate exactly why art auctioneers are the perfect place to find a gem with a story behind it.

Thirty Nine Bushnell Foto Co. Glass Negative Plates From The 1906 San Francisco Earthquake

Thirty Nine Bushnell Foto Co. Glass Negative Plates From The 1906 San Francisco Earthquake

One-of-a-Kind Items Sold by Art Auctioneers

Winston Churchill’s Set of False Teeth

He was the British prime minister during World War II, and Winston Churchill remains revered for his leadership during that time. He is perhaps the most famous prime minister ever to hold office in Britain, as he led his country to contribute to an Allied victory. Unsurprisingly, his dentures went for a steep price tag when they were sold at auction in 2010. According to the Daily Mail, the set of upper false teeth sold for 15,200 pounds.

The Violin That Serenaded the Sinking Titanic

A famous piece of the legend of the sinking Titanic involves a violinist leading his fellow band members in a rendition of “Nearer My God to Thee” in order to calm the panicked passengers. That man’s name was Wallace Hartley, who eventually died when the ship sank. His violin went up for auction in 2013. According to BBC News, it sold in just 10 minutes for a grand total of 900,000 pounds.

A Stuffed Ostrich from 1785

Representative of the opulence of the famous courts of the 18th century, a giant taxidermy ostrich from Italy’s “Little Versailles,” circa 1785, sold at a Christie’s “Out of the Ordinary” auction in London for $33,150. According to Christie’s, the bird measured 82.5 inches high — equivalent to almost seven feet tall – and was enclosed in an elegant walnut case.

This sale, in particular, is a prime example of some of the weird and wonderful items that can be found when one purchases from art auctioneers. Some of the other items included in the sale were a Victorian Gothic coffin stand, a bronze death mask of Napoleon, and a taxidermy peacock.

An Andy Warhol Line Graph

Pop artist Andy Warhol is famous for his Campbell’s Soup cans and his Marilyn Monroe screen prints, but one of his lesser-known works is a line graph drawing that depicts the U.S. unemployment rate from 1980 to 1984. Whether or not it was meant to be art is a mystery, but it sold at auction nevertheless for $32,500.

A Partially-Fossilized Elephant Bird Egg

Now extinct, the elephant bird of Madagascar was the largest bird of all time. The species could reach heights of 10 feet and weigh as much as 880 pounds, according to ZME Science. The elephant bird died out in the 17th century due to excessive hunting. One of these bird’s massive eggs, measuring roughly 9 inches in diameter and over a foot long, was sold at auction in 2013.

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30
Nov
16

Using Art Auction Houses as a Source for Interior Decorating

Auctions aren’t just for collectors. They aren’t even just for those with a lot of money. Surprisingly, more and more interior decorators are using art auction houses as a source for finding unique furniture and décor for their design clients. The right unique piece can add the perfect element of surprise and interest to any room, and savvy interior designers know this very well. Auction houses are treasure troves for art, antique pieces, items of historical value, and more — any of which can be used as décor.

Sevres Style New Haven Clock Co. Gilt Metal Porcelain Mounted Clock Garniture

Sevres Style New Haven Clock Co. Gilt Metal Porcelain Mounted Clock Garniture

Reasons to Use Art Auction Houses as Sources for Interior Decorating

Most People Love the Idea of Owning Something One-of-a-Kind

Owning something no one else has, or something that is very rare, makes most people feel important and special. It’s something they can boast about, and it signifies their cultured status. The idea of the piece is just as important as the piece itself.

A Big Design Trend Has People Looking Backward

A design trend that is not going away anytime soon is vintage decorating. Large swathes of people enjoy combing flea markets and antique malls in search of unique items for their homes, ones they won’t find in modern stores. However, often a trip to a thrift store or flea market amounts to little more than sifting through piles of junk. In contrast, auction houses provide the best of both worlds: uniqueness and value. If something is not very desirable, it will not sell for much money. Truly valuable pieces go for higher amounts. Time is not wasted on items that belong at the garbage dump. Most of the items have historical value if not monetary value.

Auction Pieces Add Character to an Otherwise Bland Interior

Modern homes often suffer from a certain amount of sterility. They usually lack the architectural detail of homes built earlier in the 20th century, and can all appear alike. Interior decorators who wisely insert unique pieces from auctions into their designs bring life and character to these otherwise bland spaces. The resulting look is warmer and more inviting than could be achieved with modern furniture and décor alone.

French Walnut Standing Cheval Mirror

French Walnut Standing Cheval Mirror

Mixing Style is an Effortless Design Trick

Designers who boldly mix styles of art, décor, and furniture create an effortlessly stylish look for their clients. For example, mixing 19th century antique chairs with a modern table, or using a vintage trunk as a coffee table or end table with a modern couch. This juxtaposition creates interest, not to mention serves as a conversation starter. This design technique therefore proves to be anything but boring.

The art of using unique pieces to accent interior design is an old designer’s trick. However, sourcing these pieces can often prove difficult. In these cases, auctions can be an indispensable source for purchasing the perfect one-of-a-kind find, artwork, antique, or collectible item that sets off a room’s style and acts as the finishing touch.

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08
Mar
16

California Auctions are Really Exciting

Let’s face it; if you are a collector of the most beautiful and rare stuff, whether it is exquisite antiques or masterful artwork, you will need to participate in the auctions to obtain the rarest items.

The really rare and wonderful things in the world are almost always sold by auction.

The auction process is not for the faint of heart, because you will be going up against others that are well- funded and maybe even more well- funded than you are when the richest of the rich want something, they will pay whatever it is necessary to get it.

The billionaires use brokers to make bids for them so they can, for the most part, remain anonymous. Every once in a while the story leaks out about who the actual bidder was that won the rare item at an extraordinary high auction price.

One example of this, is when Bill Gates, through a broker paid US $30.8 million for a set of hand written notes, called the “Codex Leicester,” made by Leonardo Da Vinci. Gates bought this notebook in 1994. He was a billionaire at the time, but still paid over thirty million for such ancient hand scribbled notes. This does seem slightly eccentric.

Auctions of the Most Rare Stuff Make History

Buying something at an auction for a price that seems outlandish is a bit about getting bragging rights and beating the other bidders. When a Van Gough painting sold for over $82.5 million at an auction in 1990, this news made world headlines. Please note that the only painting Van Gough ever sold while he was alive was one bought by his brother Theo for just the equivalent of a few dollars. Van Gough died as an insane, poor person, that never for any recognition whatsoever for his creativity while he was alive.

Sticker Shock

If the price of the Van Gough paining impresses, just look at what happened since then:

10. EDVARD MUNCH “The Scream”, painted in 1895, sold in 1992 for $119.9 million
9. GUSTAV KLIMT “Adele Bloch- bauer I”, painted in 1907, sold in 2006 for $135 million
8. ILLEM DE KOONING “Woman III”, painted in 1952-53, sold in 2006 for $137.5 million
7. JACKSON POLLOCK “Number 5, 1948”, painted in 1948, sold in 2006 for $140 million
6. Francis Bacon “Three Studies of Lucian Freud” Painted in 1969, sold in 2013 for $145 million
5. PABLO PICASSO “La Réve (The Dream)”, painted in 1932, sold in 2013 for $157.5 million
4. AMEDEO MODIGLIANI “Nu couché (reclining Nude)”, Painted in 1917-18 , sold in    2015 for $170.4 million
3. PABLO PICASSO “Les Femmes d’Alger (Version “O”)”, painted in 1955, sold in 2015 for $179.4 million
2. PAUL CÉZANNE “The Card Players”, painted in 1892/1893, sold in 2011 for $250 million

And the highest price paid so far for a single painting is….

1. PAUL GAUGUIN “Nafea faa ipoipo? (When will you marry?)”, painted in 1892, sold in 2015 for $300 million.

All we can say is WOW!




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