Paintings are a way of expressing so many things; from stories, history, emotions, or just imagination. There is no limit when it comes to what one can express and make the viewers feel with their paintings. And then there are dumb, expensive paintings that just do not make sense.
We are sure you must have seen some truly simple and basic colors just splattered on the canvas or maybe a few lines are drawn haphazardly and the painting sells for millions of dollars. In this article, we are going to list some of the dumbest expensive paintings that are not even paintings if we are being honest.
Note that the prices have been adjusted for inflation.
Interchange by Willem de Kooning – $370 Million
Take a look at this painting and think about it. What does it make you feel? Certainly not anything that comes close to $370 dollars, let alone $370 million. Willem de Kooning was one of the earliest abstract expressionist painters.
The painting has no structure, no meaning, no theme, no story, and certainly no sense. It is just some paint on a canvas. You can just throw paint on a canvas with your eyes closed and make something better than this.
Speaking of throwing paint on a canvas, let’s get to the second painting on the list.
Number 17A by Jackson Pollock – $247 million
Jackson Pollock is a name you must have heard or read somewhere if you are familiar with the world of art. We can bet you must have been shocked to find out that his paint splatters are called paintings and how much some rich people and collectors are willing to pay for them.
Pollock’s style of painting was very unique, so unique that you would not call it painting. Granted that he was the one who came up with the idea of letting the paint splatter on the canvas to make patterns, there certainly is no structure to his paintings.
His painting, named Number 17A (they do not even put an effort into naming their paintings properly) sold for a whopping $247 million.
No. 6 (Violet, Green, and Red) by Mark Rothko – $230 million
Alright, what’s with the practice of naming paintings “No 17 or No 6?” This painting, titled “No. 6 (Violet, Green, and Red)” is exactly what it’s named; a canvas with these three colors that too with a muddy and dull tint to it.
That’s how simple this “painting” by Mark Rothko is. There is nothing you can understand or get from this painting. Just spend $230 million and you can hang this masterpiece on your wall.
Pop Art Marilyn Monroe by Andy Warhol – $195 million
You must be aware of pop-art right? Those simple yet popping edits with a color filter on the image? So what if you put that filter on four paintings of Marilyn Monroe and called it a day? Well, nothing much will happen unless you are Andy Warhol.
If you are Andy Warhol, you’ll get $195 million, making it the most expensive American painting ever sold. That’s what American painting has come to? From Edward Hopper, Grant Wood, and Norman Rockwell to this.
No.5, 1948 by Jackson Pollock – $203 million
Making another appearance in this article, Jackson Pollock (he would come more often but there is a word limit to this article. Almost all of his paintings can make this list) is a special painter. His painting “No. 5, 1948” has sold for $203 million. Take a look at the painting and see why.
Woman III by Willem de Kooning – $199.6 million
To be honest, “Woman III” is a painting in this list that resembles a painting. This painting is by Willem de Kooning and it sold for almost $200 million. Why? We are still trying to figure it out. If you think this painting is outrageous for the price, wait till you see the next one.
Masterpiece by Roy Lichtenstein – $197 million
“Masterpiece” by Roy Lichtenstein can actually be called a masterpiece in this list because it is the closest thing to a real, good-looking painting. But do not get your hopes up. This pop-art illustration of something you would see on a page of a comic book.
But this painting sold for $197 million. What’s sad is that actually, great paintings by Vincent Van Gogh and Gustav Klimt have sold for lesser amounts. Not that the selling price of a painting dictates the worth of it, quite the opposite actually. But putting these paintings with the likes of “Portrait of Dr. Gachet” by Van Gogh is just unbearable.
Flag by Jasper Johns – $147.6 million
To every American, the star-spangled banner is precious. But what if an artist came and painted the map with a grunge effect on it? Someone will buy it for almost $150 million! Take a look at the painting and let us know if you think the painting is worth that price.
Anna’s Light by Barnett Newman – $133 million
“Anna’s Light” is a painting by Barnett Newman that will truly enrage you because it is not a painting. It is just a shade of red on a large canvas that sold for $133 million. But what we do not understand is why call it a painting, and why have it?
No 1 (Royal Red and Blue) by Mark Rothko – $96 million
Another one from the talented artist Mark Rothko, “No.1 (Royal Red and Blue) sold for $96 million making us think about what were the buyers thinking. The painting is just two colors painted on the canvas. That’s all.
That was the list with all those dumb expensive paintings. We do know the dirty world of art dealing and how it is used for nefarious reasons. But this article was meant to just highlight such paintings and their absurd prices of them.