There are art genres which can be considered an acquired taste. Some may not like Picasso’s style, while others may find it fascinating. Some prefer Realist artworks, while some prefer Impressionism.
But there are paintings which make us question not only their meaning, the message the artists want to convey, but also whether they can be considered works of art or not.
Below is a list of ridiculous paintings sold for an even more ridiculous amount of money.
1. Mirror, Blood Red by Gerhard Richter – $1.1 million
No this is not just an image result when you Google “bloody red.” It’s an actual painting by Dresden born painter Gerhard Richter which he created in 1991. The medium is oil in glass. Richter was known for both abstract and photorealistic paintings.
2. Untitled (Stoffbild) by Blinky Palermo – $1.7 Million
Blinky Palermo was born Peter Schwarze in Leipzig, Germany, in 1943. He changed his name to Blinky Palermo in 1964, after an American boxing promoter and mafioso. You would think the painter would bother to give an artwork sold for this much money a title. But, maybe that’s asking a bit too much.
3. Concetto spaziale, Attese by Lucio Fontana – $1.5 Million
Lucio Fontana was an Italian painter, sculptor and theorist born in Argentina.From 1947 on, Fontana’s works were often entitled Concetti spaziali (Spatial concepts). According guggengheim.org, “In his buchi (holes) cycle, begun in 1949, he punctured the surface of his canvases, breaking the membrane of two-dimensionality in order to highlight the space behind the picture.”
4. Green White by Ellsworth Kelly – $1.6 Million
Green White (1968) is painting by American painter Ellsworth Kelly. This was the first time the triangle appeared in his artwork. It would be featured again in several artworks after that.
5. Orange, Red, Yellow by Mark Rothko – $87 Million
Mark Rothko’s Orange, Red, Yellow (1961) sold for close to $87 Million at a Christie’s auction on May 8, 2012. According to Wikipedia, “the hammer price was $77.5 million, and the price was $86.8 million including buyer’s premium.”
6. Peinture (Le Chien) by Joan Miro – $2.2 Million
Peinture (Le Chien) or The Picture (Dog) is a painting by world renowned Spanish painter, sculptor and ceramicist Joan Miro. Miro was born in Barcelona. He was interviewed severl times in the 1930s where he “expressed contempt for conventional painting methods as a way of supporting bourgeois society, and famously declared an “assassination of painting” in favour of upsetting the visual elements of established painting.” I see the dog in this painting, but could the black figure be a cat?
7. White Fire I by Barnett Newman – $3.8 Million
No, it’s not a wallpaper pattern, it’s an artwork by American artist Barnett Newman, a key figure in abstract expressionism, an art movement which came about after WWII which put New York as the center of western art.
8. Untitled (1970) by Cy Twombly – $69.6 Million
American painter Cy Twombly was a prolific American painter who resided in Italy from 1957 until the day he died in 2011. Between 1967 and 1971, his works were mainly on gray grounds, the ‘grey paintings’ very much like this untitled work. It looks like chalk scribbles on blackboard.
9. Riot (1990) by Christopher Wool – $29.9 Million
This stencil-looking artwork by Christopher Wool was sold for nearly $30 million. Wool’s works look more like posters rather than paintings. His other works which resemble Riot are Fool and The Harder You Look The Harder You Look.
10. Anna’s Light by Barnett Newman – $105.7 Million
Perhaps one good question to ask about this artwork is, “Where’s the light?” Barnett Newman seems to be very fond of solid colors and thin lines. He has another painting similar to this titled Vir Heroicus Sublimis which means “man, heroic and sublime” in Latin. The work is Newman’s largest canvas yet and it “attempts to evoke a reaction from its viewers because of its overwhelming scale and saturated color.”
Photo credit: cavemancircus.com