Most Expensive Paintings by Vincent Van Gogh

Paintings by Vincent Van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh is certainly one of the most valued and valuable artists of all time. The legend says that van Gogh sold only one painting in his entire career, although the Van Gogh Museum attests that the artist sold more than a couple of artworks throughout his career. Either way, the artist lived a rather unsuccessful artistic career, having his talent recognized only some years after his passing. All van Gogh paintings are highly praised and valuable. Today, the amount spent on Van Gogh paintings through auctions amassed over 900 million dollars.

Here’s a list of some of the most expensive Van Gogh pieces ever sold.

Portrait of Dr. Gachet

Van Gogh’s portrait of Dr. Gachet is a painting that was created by Vincent van Gogh in 1890 and is one of the most expensive paintings ever sold.

The painting depicts Dr. Gachet, who was a homeopathic physician and artist. Van Gogh lived with Dr. Gachet for a time, and the doctor would care for him during the last months of the Dutch artist’s life.

The painting was sold in 1990 for 82 million dollars, an equivalent of 163 million today, becoming the most costly painting ever sold at the time.

Portrait of Joseph Roulin

The painting is one of many portraits that Van Gogh painted in Arles and Saint-Rémy that are characterized by an informal technique and thick brushstrokes. The portrait is on display at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, France.

The painting depicts Roulin as a man with a thick beard and large ears. He is wearing a heavy coat. Van Gogh used intense colors to create an emotional effect on the viewer.

Joseph Roulin, a postman, became a close friend of Vincent Van Gogh during his time in Arles. In addition to several portraits of Joseph, his family was also portrayed by the artist, including his wife Augustine, their children Armand, Camille, and baby Marcelle. 

It was sold in 1989 for 58 million dollars plus exchange for other works.

Irises

Van Gogh painted Irises in the asylum in Saint-Remy-de-Provence after his notorious self-mutilation and numerous breakdowns. Like many of his later works, influenced by Japanese woodblock prints, Irises was one of the earliest pieces he began upon his entrance to the asylum.

In Irises, each flower and petal are unique, as the artist released the tension of his mind through the intricate, obsessive compulsion to paint life as he perceived.

The artwork was sold in 1987 for 53.9 million dollars, equivalent to 122.8 million today.

Portrait de l’artiste Sans barbe

The title translates to “Self-portrait Without Beard” and shows exactly what you would expect. This painting stands out from the rest of his portraits because the artist depicted himself with a beard in most of them. 

The painting was created in 1889 and is often regarded as van Gogh’s last self-portrait and was used as a gift on his mother’s birthday.

The painting was sold for 71 million dollars in 1998, an equivalent of 113.5 million today.

A Wheatfield with Cypresses

The swirling sky is rich in different tones of blue and white. Its motion movement was achieved with thick brushstrokes and provoked a dream-like atmosphere, similar to his famous Starry Night. By using thick layers of paint, the clouds and other figures seem to come out of the painting. The blue mountains almost blend with the sky as they are mostly the same colors, but the viewer can distinguish them because Van Gogh carefully contours the mountains and makes them darker.

It was sold for 57 million dollars in 1993, equivalent to 102.1 million today.

Vase with fifteen sunflowers

This is not the only sunflower painting the artist produced during his career; there are many van Gogh pictures with the same theme. In a small period, the artist painted many other masterpieces with the theme, changing a few details in color and composition.

This artwork was created with the main intention of later decorating his new studio. Van Gogh does not avoid the real representation of the flowers, but of course, in his stylized way. As van Gogh worked with real flowers as a reference, some would have fewer petals, be dried up or shriveled.

The painting was sold in 1987 for 39.7 million dollars, an equivalent of 90.4 million today.

Laboureur Dans un Champ

This beautiful painting was created in 1889, soon after being accepted to Saint-Paul-de-Mausole asylum in Saint-Remy. After being admitted, the artist was unable to paint for over a month, as the doctors thought it would be better to wait for the artist to return to a more stable state of mind. 

It was sold in 2017 for 81.3 million dollars.

Peasant Woman Against a Background of Wheat

This beautiful painting was created in the last year of van Goh’s life and created many versions of it. The painting has a beautiful color contrast created between the dark blue clothing of the woman against the lighter and softer background.

The painting was sold in 1997 for 47.5 million dollars, an equivalent of 76.6 million today.

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L’Allée Des Alyscamps

Painted in 1888, this striking artwork depicts the ancient Roman necropolis known as Alyscamps. It’s possible to notice a long line of stone sarcophagi on the left side of the painting. The vibrant orange tones suggest an autumnal setting.

The painting was auctioned in 2015 for 66.3 million dollars.