99% of people can't figure out the most expensive artwork in the world. Can you?

By: Valerie
Image: Van Gogh via Wikimedia Commons

About This Quiz

The artwork shown in this quiz is the kind that is protected by top security and covered by hundreds of million of dollars in insurance. If damaged or stolen, the entire world loses a treasure.

If you love the variety and beauty of art from any era, you'll love taking this quiz. It reacquaints you with modern pieces as well as the classics from the ages. You'll also learn the portion of your nest egg to set aside before you can purchase one of your own. 

From Pablo Picasso's Nude, Green Leaves and Bust, which went for $106.5 million in 2010 to one of the five versions of The Card Players that sold for more than $250 million, the auction price of the most famous paintings can skyrocket from one sale to the next. However, things do happen, such as with the Le Reve painting bought in 2013 by Steven Cohen, one of Wall Street's biggest art collectors. He was originally supposed to buy it in 2006, but its owner, Steven Wynn, the casino magnate, accidentally put his elbow through the canvas so Cohen had to wait seven years for this painting to be repaired!

Learn more trivia about your favorite paintings while you appreciate the art world, with this historical and eye-pleasing quiz. 

During his career, Paul Cézanne painted five versions of The Card Players. The majority of them are now stored in world-renowned museum collections. In 2011, one version of the famous painting was sold to the royal family of Qatar at the astonishing price of more than $250 million. At the%0Dtime, it was the most expensive painting ever sold.

Le Réve is a painting bought in 2013 by Steven Cohen, one of Wall Street's biggest art collectors. He was originally supposed to buy it in 2006, but its owner, Steve Wynn, the casino magnate, accidentally put his elbow through the canvas so Cohen had to wait seven years for this painting to be repaired.

The iconic Jackson Pollock drip painting, No. 5, 1948 features lines and drops of red, yellow, blue and grey paint all mixed together. The painting was sold through a private sale in 2006 by David Geffen, a business and entertainment magnate. He sold it to the private buyer for a reported $140 million (Today it would be about $164 million).

Painter Willem de Kooning created one painting from a series of ‘Woman‘ works, Woman III, in 1953. This work is over 5 feet tall and features distorted female figures. Woman III is the only painting from the series that is privately held - it was sold through a private sale in 2006 for $137.5 million; it's the seventh most expensive work ever sold.

Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I, best known as “Woman in Gold,” is a beautiful portrait with Gustav Klimt’s signature gold and rich details. The main character in Woman in Gold is Adele Bloch-Bauer, whose husband, Czech sugar mogul Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer, paid Austrian symbolist painter Gustav Klimt, to paint two portraits of his wife.

The Scream isn't one piece, but four that includes a painted version, crayon piece, pastel version, and his final, most popular, Scream. This 1895 pastel-on-board version of the painting was sold at Sotheby's for a record $120 million in 2012.

Before Scream was sold in 2012, the previous record for the most expensive work of art sold at auction had been held by Pablo Picasso's Nude, Green Leaves and Bust, which went for $106.5 million in 2010.

Death and Disaster Series includes loosely connected seventy-odd artworks that explore the subjects of death, car accidents, suicides, electric chairs, even tainted cans of tuna fish. Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster) is considered to be one of the most powerful works of his career. Warhol took the material from newspapers and police photo archives and used the silk screen as a means to mechanically repeat these frightening images.

A Picasso painting became the most expensive picture in auction history in 2004 when it fetched more than $104 million at Sotheby's in New York. Boy with a Pipe, Picasso's Rose Period portrait of a young boy called "Little Louis," who used to hang around his studio in Paris, was bought by an anonymous bidder. The portrait became the first painting ever to break the $100 million barrier at auction.

In 2008, Eight Elvises was sold by Annibale Berlingieri for $100 million to a private buyer, making this painting the most expensive work by Andy Warhol at that time. This work is a silkscreen on canvas of eight identical, overlapping images of Elvis dressed as a cowboy.

Dora Maar au Chat is the 4th most expensive painting by Pablo Picasso. It depicts one of his lovers, Dora Maar, sitting in a chair with a small cat. Dora helped him in many other paintings as a model and was the only one who documented Picasso’s monumental work, Guernica.

The second portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer was sold for $150 million in 2016 by a noted art collector, Oprah Winfrey. She made a pretty penny selling Gustav Klimt‘s Portrait that she originally purchased at Christie’s in 2006 for $87.9 million.

A few years ago, Mark Rothko’s “Orange, Red, Yellow" became the most expensive contemporary art at $87 million. Rothko’s timeless creation from 1961 shattered all records for contemporary art by fetching $87 million at a Christie’s auction in 2012.

In 2013, a painting by Francis Bacon of his friend, Lucian Freud (1969), set a new world record . At $142.4 million, it became the most expensive artwork ever sold at an auction.

Over the years, Portrait of Dr. Gachet has become one of Vincent van Gogh's most recognizable paintings. But not everybody knows that there are actually two portraits - both are called Portrait of Dr. Gachet and show him in the same costume and melancholy expression, and head on hand pose. However, they do include slightly different props.

Le Bassin aux Nymphéas is one of the series of Water Lilies paintings by Claude Monet. In this painting, there is no background or foreground, only an illusion of an endless expanse of water filled with water lilies and reflections from the sky.

False start puzzled people from the time it was painted. For years, the painting belonged to Stephen Cohen, who sold it to Kenneth C. Griffin for $95 million, which was a record price for a postwar piece of art at that time.

Andy Warhol painted several versions of Marilyn Monroe during his career. He used a variety of colors, sizes and formats. Many critics believe that in Turquoise Marilyn, Warhol used turquoise color as the symbol of the character’s connection to nature.

Bal du moulin de la Galette is one of Renoir's most important works of the mid 1870s. It's currently located in Paris. It's also one of Impressionism's most celebrated masterpieces.

The Massacre of the Innocents inspired two paintings by Rubens. Both of them depict the episode of the Biblical massacre of the innocents of Bethlehem, as described in the Gospel of Matthew.

No 1 (Royal Red and Blue) is one of the most expensive artworks ever sold by the Abstract expressionist artist, Mark Rothko. In 2012, this painting was sold for $75.1 million at a Sotheby's auction.

White Center (Yellow, Pink and Lavender on Rose) is the best example of Mark Rothko’s signature multiform style. This work was sold in 2007 by Sotheby’s on behalf of David Rockefeller to the royal family of Qatar for 72.84 million.

Diana and Callisto was completed between 1556 and 1559 by the Venetian artist Titian and shows the moment when the goddess Diana discovers that her maid, Callisto, has become pregnant by Jupiter. The famous painting was inspired by Greek mythology.

When Andy Warhol's Green Car Crash (Green Burning Car I) was selling at Christie's, experts thought the auction's estimate — $25 to $35 million — was pretty optimistic. Warhol's previous auction record was $17.38 million, so nobody expected what happened next - after a heated bidding war, the price of this painting rose to $71.72 million.

Portrait de l'artiste sans barbe is one of the many self-portraits of Vincent van Gogh. It's his only self-portrait where he is shown without his beard. This self-portrait became one of the world’s most expensive paintings in 1998 with a price of $71.5 million.

Titian's Portrait of Alfonso d'Avalos is the standing state portrait. Dressed in armor, Alfonso d'Avalos exudes tremendous power in this painting.

Russian-American Abstract expressionist artist Mark Rothko introduced Abstract Expressionism into the art world. No. 6 (Violet, Green and Red) is famous not only for its bold, bright colors and unusual composition - it has the fifth-highest price paid for a painting ($188 million). It was created by the painter during a period of depression, and conveys an intimate, intense message, almost a cry for help.

Madonna dei fusi is an amazing example of Italian Renaissance painting. It's attributed to Leonardo da Vinci. The artwork was sold for $150 million in the late '90s.

The image of Christ giving his blessing to the world was a popular subject in French and Flemish art that inspired Leonardo da Vinci to create this masterpiece. It was commissioned by Louis XII of France in 1506 and finished by 1513.

In 2014, the Kawamura Museum in Japan quietly sold one of Barnett Newman's greatest paintings, Anna's Light (1968), for $105 Million. In 1985, however, the painting went unsold at Sotheby's as a bewildered Annalee Newman sat in the front row.

In 1888 Van Gogh mutilated his right ear. Self-portrait with bandaged ear is one of the first works Van Gogh painted after this incident. The majority of critics think the painter seems to have thought the act of painting would help him to recover.

It's not a single painting - Les Femmes d'Alger is actually a series of 15 paintings and a few drawings by the Spanish artist Pablo Picasso. In 2015, Pablo Picasso's Women of Algiers sold for $179 million to set a new world auction record.

An oil on canvas painting by the Dutch-American abstract expressionist painter Willem de Kooning, Interchange is the most expensive painting of abstract art ever sold ($300 million).

When Pablo Picasso was 50 years old, he finished this artwork portraying his 22-year-old mistress, Marie-Thérèse Walter. A creative and tireless innovator of art forms, Picasso had a great effect on the course of 20th century art.

This Van Gogh’s painting was inspired by Joseph Roulin, who worked for a post office in the French town of Arles and was his close friend. In fact, Van Gogh painted over 20 portraits of Joseph Roulin and his family. This portrait was completed in a single session, and some scholars think that it was painted from memory, or from previous portraits, after Roulin got a better-paying job and left the town.

A painting of two Tahitian women by Paul Gauguin, an artist whose work won little acclaim in his lifetime, was sold for nearly $300 million in 2015, becoming the most expensive artwork ever.

Three Studies of Lucian Freud (1969) marks the friendship of Francis Bacon and fellow painter, Lucian Freud. Carried out in Bacon’s celebrated triptych format, this sunny yellow triptych pulses with life.

A celebrated drip painting by Jackson Pollock, Number 17A was sold to Kenneth C. Griffin in 2015. Out of $500 million he spent on artworks, Griffin spent $200 million on Pollock's Number 17A. It's on display at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Jasper Johns continues to be one of the most important living artists of our time thanks to his innovative paper collage on canvas, Flag, as well as other brave artistic experiments. At the time of its sale in 1990, Flag was the second most expensive painting ever sold.

Pendant portraits of Maerten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppit is a pair of paintings by Dutch Golden Age painter, Rembrandt. He painted them on the occasion of the couple's marriage in 1634.

After a few episodes of self-mutilation and hospitalization, Vincent van Gogh entered an asylum in Saint-Rémy, France, where he created almost 130 paintings. Within his first week there, he began drawing Irises, working from nature in the asylum's garden.

The 1964 bold pop art creation, "Nurse," by American artist Roy Lichtenstein was sold for $95.4 million at a Christie's New York. The subject of this painting is usually described as a "quintessential Lichtenstein heroine" borrowed from comic books of the early 1960s.

One of the most widely reproduced and exhibited paintings of Amedeo Modigliani, Nu Couché (Reclining Nude) led a night of records at Christie’s New York in 2015 during The Artist’s Muse, a curated Evening Sale. The modernist masterpiece was sold for the second highest price ever paid at auction ($170,405,000).

The most expensive still life ever sold at an auction, Rideau, Cruchon et Compotier is also one of the most obviously formal of Cezanne's paintings with a perfect pairing and centering of objects, from the fruits on the cloth to the pattern on the wall.

Yo Picasso (I, Picasso) marks the beginning of Picasso's unique style based on his own powerful and innovative personality.

Les Noces de Pierrette by Picasso portrays a group of prosperous families gossiping at a wedding. Notably, all the figures are painted with blank, emotionless faces. It's not a happy painting - it was painted in 1905, early in Picasso's career, when his friend Carlos Casagemas had just committed suicide and Picasso himself was facing poverty.

A Wheatfield with Cypresses by Vincent van Gogh was painted in September 1889, when he was a patient at the St-Rémy mental asylum. It's also one of three almost identical versions of the composition.

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