Fine Art & Collectibles

van gogh first painting sold

He only sold one painting while he was alive.

And he later admitted feeling some guilt for charging full price, when the buyer was, in fact, his friend’s sister.

Anna Boch purchased ‘The Red Vineyards near Arles’ from Vincent van Gogh for 400 francs at the Les XX Exhibition in 1890.

Sixteen years later, Anna sold the painting for 10,000 francs. Owned by a Russian businessman, then nationalized by the Bolsheviks. And in 1948 given to the Pushkin Museum in Moscow, where it remains today.

van gogh painting

Van Gogh created over 2,000 paintings and sketches over just 10 years as an artist, most of those produced in the last 2 years of his life.

When he died at age 37, he was just beginning to receive recognition by a small group of artists.

If sold today, could you guess where the ‘Red Vineyard’ painting would rank among the most valuable Van Gough’s of all-time?

$117 million – ‘Orchard with Cypresses’ sold in 2022
$72 million – ‘Self-portrait Without a Beard’ sold in 1998
$66 million – ‘The Avenue of Les Alyscamps’ sold in 2015
$50 million – ‘Starry Night’ sold in 1990
$40 million – ‘Sunflowers’ sold in 1987

For example, some current valuation estimates for ‘Starry Night’ are over $250 million if sold today. Would the ‘Red Vineyard’ top that?

van gogh self portrait

You know you are good at your job when…

I wanted to learn more about the 1970s and 1980s art scene, so I read, ‘Art Dealers.’

The book, published in 1984, features interviews from 35 of the most well-known art dealers.

But the book should have just been titled, ‘Leo Castelli.’

As I made my way through the book, there was a unmistakable and noticeable trend.

Nearly every single famous art dealer talks more about Leo Castelli than the actual artists they represented, or the biggest deals they negotiated.

It’s almost comical – as you go from one art dealer to the next. The 35 most well-known art dealers of the 1980s can’t help themselves. They are constantly name dropping Leo Castelli.

leo castelli art dealer

Michael Jordan, Babe Ruth, Wayne Gretzky… Leo Castelli.

If you’re unfamiliar with the name, Castelli was an art dealer for 50 years and transformed the entire art world as we know it today.

You know you are good at your job when every one of your competitors can’t stop talking about you.

So if you want to learn more about contemporary art and how it’s bought and sold, go right to the source. Start with Leo Castelli.

The book is a great read, by the way. Highly recommend it.

leo castelli art dealer

Top 10 Most Valuable Paintings

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RankTitleArtistDate SoldFactsBuyer & SellerImageValue
1Salvator MundiLeonardo da Vinci15002017Leonardo's painting shows Christ making the sign of the cross and holding a 'celestial sphere' of the heavens. The painting might be hanging on a yacht owned by Mohammed bin Salman, or it could be stored in Switzerland.Sold at a Christie's auction in New York by Dmitry Rybolovlev to Prince Badr bin Abdullah Al Saud, on behalf of Abu Dhabi's Department of Culture and Tourism. Later, it was rumored to be Mohammed bin Salman behind the purchase.salvator mundi$450 million
2InterchangeWillem de Kooning19552015 Williem de Kooning was a Dutch-American painter, and part of the early abstract expressionism movement.David Geffen sold the famous Kooning painting to hedge fund manager Kenneth Griffin. The painting was originally sold for $4,000 in 1955 to architect Edgar Kaufmann.Interchange$300 million
3The Card PlayersPaul Cezanne18922011 The French Post-Impressionist Paul Cezanne painted 'The Card Players' as part of a five painting series. The royal family of Qatar bought the painting from George Embiricos, a Greek shipping magnate.the card players$250 million
4Nafea Faa IpoipoPaul Gauguin18922015The title of the painting 'Nafea Faa Ipoipo' is Tahitian for 'When Will You Marry?' Paul Gauguin painted several pictures of native women on his trip to Tahiti, but his hope find "an edenic paradise" was not what he found when he arrived. After the painting spent 50 years on loan to the Kunstmuseum in Basel, Switzerland, it was sold by Rudolf Staechelin to Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad Al-Thani in 2015.nafea faa ipoipo$210 million
5Number 17AJackson Pollock19482015Pollock created 'Number 17A' on fiberboard by dripping and splashing oil paint on a horizontal canvas. After 'Life' magazine featured the piece in August of 1949, Pollock quickly became a celebrity artist.The painting was one of two works purchased by hedge fund manager Ken Griffin from David Geffen for a total of $500 million.17A pollock$200 million
6The Standard BearerRembrandt16362022The self-portrait was painted when Rembrandt moved to Amsterdam from Leiden and is considered an important early work from the artist.Sold by the Elie de Rothschild collection to the Rijksmuseum and the Dutch government after the Louvre unsuccessfully tried to raise money to buy the painting. the standard bearer$198 million
7No. 6 (Violet, Green and Red)Mark Rothko19512014Latvian abstract expressionist painter Mark Rothko was known for works with large expanses of color, delineated by hazy, uneven shades.In a rather brazen move by the Swiss art dealer, Yves Bouvier, he bought the painting from Paiker H.B. for 80 million euros, then selling it to Dmitry Rybolovlev for 140 million euros, when Rybolovlev was under the impression Bouvier was simply acting as his dealer in the transaction.no. 6 mark rothko$186 million
8Wasserschlangen IIGustav Klimt19072013Also known as "Water Serpents II" the painting was a follow up to Klimt's "Water Serpents I."Originally commissioned by Jenny Steiner, a daughter of a Viennese family, the painting was later stolen by the Nazis during World War II. Then, it was part of another sale between Yves Bouvier and Dmitry Rybolovlev, where Bouvier misrepresented himself as an art dealer, pocketing over $75 million in the sale. It's rumored to have been sold by Rybolovlev to a Qatari Princess.water serpents II$183 million
9Pendant portraits of Maerten SoolmansRembrandt16342016The full-length wedding painting by Rembrandt for the wedding of Oopjen Coppit and Marten Soolmans in 1634. Once owned by the Rothschild family, later they were owned by the Louvre and the Rijksmuseum after each contributing half the purchase price.Pendant portraits of Maerten Soolmans$180 million
10Les Femmes d'AlgerPablo Picasso19552015Also known as the "Women of Algiers," the works are a series of 15 paintings and drawings. The series by Picasso is a tribute to artists he admired. The painting, "Version O" is the final painting in the series. Sold in 1997 for $31 million, then again in 2015 to Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, the Qatari prime minister. Les Femmes d'Alger picasso$179 million

Top 10 Most Valuable Comic Books

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RankComicValueDate SoldFactsBuyer & SellerImage
1Amazing Fantasy #15 CGC 9.6$3.6 million2021This comic from 1962 features the very first appearance of Spider-Man. From the Silver Age of comics, the CGC 9.5 graded issue knocked off the Action Comics Issue #1 for the most expensive comic of all time. Sold during the Heritage Auctions Comic and Comic Art Signature Art sale. Amazing Fantasy #15 rare comic
2Action Comics #1 CGC 8.5$3.25 million2021Action Comics issue #1 features the very first appearance of Superman, and is recognized as the start of the superhero genre. The comic sold for 10 cents when it was first published in April of 1938.One issue graded a 9.0 by CGC sold on eBay for $3.2 million in 2014, and another issue graded 8.5 by CGC sold for $3.25 million in 2021. Action Comics #1
3Action Comics #1 CGC 6.0$3.18 million2022Jerry Siegel first wrote a short story titled "The Reign of the Superman" in 1933, illustrated by a friend of his, Joe Shuster. Only 50 to 100 copies of the Action Comics #1 are known to exist. There were only 6 copies graded CGC 4.0 or higher, and only one with a CGC 9.0 grade. Actor Nicolas Cage had a copy stolen from his house in 2000, and later recovered in a storage locker in the San Fernando Valley.Action Comics #1 CGC 9
4Marvel Comics #1$2.4 million2022Back in 1939, this comic only cost ten cents brand new, and illustrator Frank R. Paul received only $25 for his artwork on the cover of the issue. Heritage Auctions sold the $2.4 million copy, which was graded CGC 9.2Marvel Comics #1
5Detective Comics #27 CGC 6.5$1.7 million2022Known as the most important Batman comic of all time, the 1939 issue number 27 of Detective Comics unleashed Batman into the comic world for the very first time.Goldin Auctions sold the CGC 6.5 grade comic for $1.7 million. In 2020, a CGC 7.0 copy sold for $1.5 million, and in 2010, a CGC 8.0 sold for $1.1 million.Detective Comics #27
6All Star Comics #8$1.6 million2022All Star Comics #8 featured Wonder Woman for the very first time. Another sale of the All Star Comics #8 rang in at $930,000 in 2017. All Star Comics #8
7Batman #1 CGC 8.0$1.2 million 2021It's the very first issue of Batman, first published and sold in 1940. Also featuring the first appearance of the Joker, along with Catwoman. The CGC graded 8.0 Batman #1 comic was first purchased for $80,000 in 2006. Batman #1 rare comic
8X-Men #1 CGC 9.6$807,0002021Written by Stan Lee, and illustrated by Jack Kirby in 1963, the X-Men #1 comic featured Marvel's team of superhero's along with the nemesis, Magneto. ComicConnect.com hosted the auction that surpassed the previous record for the first X-men comic by $300,000. X-Men #1
9Flash Comics #1 CGC 9.6$450,0002010It's the finest example known to exist of the very first Flash Comics issue from 1940. The seller originally purchased the comic for $273,000 in 2006. Flash Comics #1
10Tales of Suspense #39 CGC 9.6$375,0002012From the Silver Age of comics, this was the very first appearance of Iron Man. Written by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, illustrated by Don Heck, Gene Colan, and Steve Ditko.Some estimate this comic to be worth at least $500,000 if it was to sell today. Tales of Suspense #39

Top 10 Most Valuable Rolex Watches

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RankWatchValueDate SoldFactsBuyer & SellerImage
1Paul Newman's Daytona$17.8 million2017When Paul Newman gave his Rolex watch to James Cox, his daughter's boyfriend, in 1984, it was selling for about $200. It took only 12 minutes of bidding for the Paul Newman Rolex to break the record as most valuable Rolex watch ever sold. Paul Newman gave the watch to his daughter's boyfriend, James Cox, back in 1984. Paul Newman's Daytona
2Daytona Ref. 626 Unicorn (1971)$5.9 million2018The "Unicorn" is the only white gold Rolex Daytona ever made. Italian watch collector John Goldberger bought the watch in 2010, and donated proceeds from the watch sale to the Children Action charity. daytona ref 626 unicorn
3Bao Dai$5.1 million2017It's one of only three black dial Rolex models. The Rolex Boa Dai watch sold in 2002 for $235,000, making it the most valuable Rolex ever sold. 15 years later it broke it's own record selling for $5 million in 2017.As the thirteenth and last emperor of Vietnam, Bao Dai was removed from power in 1955. But the prior year, while attending a conference in Geneva, Dai bought the Rolex watch from a jeweler near the hotel he was staying. boa dai rolex
4Antimagnetique Ref. 4113 (1942)$2.5 million2016There are only 12 Reference 4113 Rolex watches known to exist. But these watches were never meant for public sales, they were given to racing teams, although a few found their way to auctions.Phillips sold the 1942 Rolex watch in Geneva after the same watch sold for $1.1 million at a Christie's auction three years earlier in 2013. Antimagnetique Ref. 4113
5Marlon Brando's Rolex GMT-Master$1.9 million2019Brando gave the watch to his daughter in 1994 after she graduated from Brown University. He told her, "the watch is like a tank. You can do anything you want to it and it will keep going. I want you to have it as a reminder of how proud I am of you."The watch was purchased by Marlon Brando in the 1970s and worn in the film 'Apocalypse Now.' He carved his name on the back, "M. Brando" and gave the watch to his daughter in 1995. Marlon Brando's Rolex GMT-Master
6Eric Clapton's "Oyster Albino" Daytona$1.4 million2015There are only 4 "Albino" Daytona watches known. And this one manufactured in 1971 is all original, First sold for $505,000 in 2003, the Clapton Rolex sold again in 2015 for $1.4 million at a Phillips auction in Geneva.Clapton Oyster Albino Daytona
7Jack Nicklaus Day-Date$1.2 million2019After given as a gift from Rolex, Jack Nicklaus wore the Day-Date nearly every day since 1967, including during 12 of his 18 professional golf major championship titles. The Phillips auction sale of the watch proceeds benefit the Nicklaus Children's Health Care Foundation. Jack Nicklaus Day-Date
8GMT Master II Ice$485,0002021The Rolex Reference 116769 Master Ice is the most expensive watch Rolex has ever offered to the public. 30 carats of white diamonds and 18-karat white gold with water resistance of 100 meters if you plan to wear it diving.Cristiano Ronaldo was spotted wearing the Master Ice, and now that the Master Ice is no longer in production, value for the watch has already risen to around $550,000.GMT Master II Ice
9James Bond Submariner (1972)$365,0002015The 1972 Rolex was worn by Sir Roger Moore during the James Bond movie "Live and Let Die." Phillips Auction sold the watch in Geneva. James Bond Submariner (1972)
10Platinum Diamond Pearlmaster$277,0002011The Pearlmaster line of Rolex watches come in 3 options. White gold, yellow gold, or rose gold, with options for gemstones on the bracelet or without. They are also waterproof for all your deep sea diving adventures. Sold to a private buyer.Platinum Diamond Pearlmaster

Top 10 Most Valuable Watches of All Time

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RankBrandModelDate SoldFactsBuyer & SellerImageValue
1Graff Diamonds Hallucination20142014Total weight of the diamonds on this watch weigh 110 carats. A brainchild of Laurence Graff, he wanted to show the company's innovation, authority, excellence, and superiority in the diamond industry.After thousands of hours assembling the watch and unveiling it at Baselworld in 2014, by all accounts, the watch is still owned by the Graff Diamond company.graff diamonds Hallucination$55 million
2Graff DiamondsThe Fascination20152015152.96 carats of white diamonds, with a single 38 carat Flawless diamond in the center that can be worn as a ring. The one of a kind watch was unveiled at BaselWorld in 2015, but would not comment if there was a buyer immediately. As far as we know, the watch is still owned by the Graff company.Graff Diamonds fascination$40 million
3BreguetNo. 16018272013Legend has it, the watch was commissioned in 1783 by an admirer of the French Queen, Marie Antoinette. After 19 years, the watch was complete. Completed 9 years after Marie Antoinette was executed, she was never able to see the watch. Sold to Sir Spencer Brunton in 1887, then to Sir David Lionel Salomons in 1920. Stolen from the L.A. Mayer Institute in 1983 by master thief Na'aman Diller. Recovered in 2007 and returned to Jerusalem. Valued at $23 million in 2013.Breguet Marie-Antoinette Grande Complication$30 million
4Chopard201 Carat Watch2019N/A874 high-grade diamonds of all colors and sizes. Press the spring-loaded mechanism and the heart-shaped stones flip open like a flower in the sun. Chopard, the Swiss company established in 1860 by Louis-Ulysse Chopard, there's no other known buyer of the watch to date.chopard 201 carat$25 million
5Patek PhilippeSupercomplication19332014Only one was ever made, and considered to be the most complicated mechanical watches of all time. 24 functions with a celestial chart of the stars. Henry Graves asked Patek to build a watch to top his rival watch collector James Ward Packard, the car maker. Engraved on the back was the Graves family motto, "Esse Quam Videri," 'To be rather than to seem.'Commissioned by businessman Henry Graves Jr. in 1933, to build the world's most complicated watch, no matter the cost. Graves paid $15,000. Purchased by Sheikh Saud Bin Mohammed Bin Ali Al-Thani in 1999. Patek Philippe Supercomplication $24 million
6Jacob & Co. Billionaire Watch20152017260 carats of emerald-cut diamonds and a Jacob & Co. nearly see-through "skeletonized" tourbillon movement.The watch was purchased by boxer Floyd Mayweather sometime after it was unveiled at Baselworld in 2015.jacob & co billionaire$18 million
7RolexPaul Newman's Daytona19682017The Newman Daytona is a unique black and creme art deco style dial. Only 2,000 to 3,000 were ever produced like it. Engraved on the back of the watch is "Drive Carefully Me," a note from Newman's wife.A gift from Newman's wife, actress Joanne Woodward, then given to James Cox, a former boyfriend of Nell Newman, Paul's daughter. There's speculation that Rolex purchased the watch at auction, or a private collector sold the watch back to Rolex after the bidding.paul newman’s rolex daytona$17.8 million
8Patek PhilippeRef. 151819412016Made in steel, its one of four watches of it's kind. It was the world's first perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch. Sold to a private collector.patek philippe ref. 1518$11.1 million
9Vacheron Constantin5726020152015The watch features 57 complications.The pocket watch is part of Vacheron's tailor-made watches, a series including James W. Packard's minute repeating watch from 1918, King Fuad I's pocket watch from1929, and King Farouk of Egypt's custom pocket watch from 1948.Vacheron Constantin 57260$8 million
10HublotBig Bang20122012The Big Bang by Hublot includes 1,282 diamonds, collected from various locations around the world.The watch was purchased by Beyonce and given to her husband Jay-Z on his 43rd birthday. hublot big bang$5 million

Top 10 Most Expensive Watches of All Time

Timepieces have been more than just a way of telling time. The most expensive watches in the world have shocked and awed watch collectors for centuries. Aside from being valuable items, watches can also be considered works…

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