Whether it's via auction or private sales, artworks by big-name painters have drawn record-breaking prices in recent years. Some buyers are billionaire art collectors seeking a trophy piece to hang in their mansion. Others are investors with eyes on resale profit. And then there are art museums, banking that adding a Picasso or Warhol to their gallery will bring in the crowds.
This list includes only the most expensive paintings ever sold, not the world's most valuable paintings. Though artworks are assessed for insurance purposes, there’s truly no way to put a monetary value on the "Mona Lisa," which is considered priceless.
The paintings are ranked by the original sale price in U.S. dollars. If the amounts were to be adjusted for inflation, the list would look very similar with only a few pieces changing position. And the top five would remain as is.