Each artist has a very special way to express themselves. However, these expressions of art don’t always appeal to all their audience. Even so, some people still find even the weirdest-looking of some famous artists worth buying for a few million bucks. Here are a plain, ugly works of art worth millions that will surprise you.
10. Svanen (The Swan) of HilmaafKlint
Swedish artist and mystic HilmaafKlint created a painting she called Svanen or The Swan. Made in 1915, it was never exhibited during her lifetime. But it gained attention soon enough, making it one of the most reproduced paintings of her generation. The masterpiece was nothing but a colorful concentric circles on a red background.
9. White Fire I by Barnett Newman
Would you believe that this ridiculous-looking canvas was sold for $3.8 million? This abstract painting, which is comprised of two straight lines, was created in 1954. Barnett is an American artist who is a strong follower of abstract expressionism. This painting, which follows the color field painting style, is one of the few pieces that he has created during his lifetime. Barnett is the greatest color field painters of his time. That is the reason why this expensive painting is very popular until now.
8. Woman III by Willem de Kooning
This undeniably strange-looking painting of a woman made Willem de Kooning and his estate a few millions richer. The painting recently changed hands to the tune of $137.5 million. This abstract painting was finished by Kooning in 1953. The painting became rather controversial in the 1970s, because it was refused for exhibit at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art. This painting is currently privately owned. It spans 68 inches in height and 48.5 inches in width.
7. Royal Red and Blue
This is one of the most basic paintings to date but don’t let its simplicity fool you. It was sold for a whopping $75.1 million during a Sotheby’s auction in November of 2012. The painter, Mark Rothko, is a known abstract expressionist. This painting date back 1954 and basically has three blocks of color – and that’s it. Rothko is an American painter with Russian and Jewish Roots. He is known for the color field method style of painting which was popular in New York during the 50’s. The idea is to paint the canvas with large blocks of solid colors giving off an impression of an uneven surface and a flat plane. This painting pretty much depicts that, although very simplistic that you can imagine a toddler painting this art piece, it has a surprisingly outrageous value.
To a lot of people, this can be viewed as a real abstract painting with a lot of character in it. There is no doubt about it- but to be valued at $300 million sparks a different kind of conversation. As with all abstract, most people can claim they can paint something similar, but in fact, there is more to this painting that meets the eye. William de Kooning is a New York painter, but is originally from Netherlands. This artwork is an example of ‘action painting’ which is a technique where the artist spontaneously splash paint on canvas versus the traditional painting style that is meticulous and takes time to complete. It is somehow a form of physical art. This technique is made popular during the 40’s to 60’s and has coined the concept of abstract expressionism. This painting was made in 1955 and is now housed in the private collection of Kenneth C. Griffin.
5. Onement VI
This is one of the most boring paintings that you will ever see but you will be surprised to know that this blue colored canvas sold for over $43 million in 2013. It is one of the works of Barnett Newman, a known abstract expressionist. He has done a number of similar paintings such as this and has an entire “Onement” collection, which is basically composed of one dominant color and a division (what he calls a ‘zip’) right smacked in the middle. The zip is used to define the space of his paintings. This New York artist was born in 1905 and has made a following because of his color field art.
4. Birthday by Paul Klee
If you don’t know better, you might mistake this for a preschooler’s art project. This is actually a painting from the famed painter Paul Klee. It starts off with an odd old maroon color with asymmetrical and disorganized images of triangles and squares, and oh yes, an odd orange circle in off center. One can maybe make this out as a series of houses or even a castle- but, hey, what do we know. Paul Klee is a Swiss-German painter born in 1879. Most of his works are now housed in varied museums all over the globe.
3. Blue Rectangle Over The Red Beam
If you hear the word ‘painting’ you might be imagining something with a lot of imagination, color gradients and creative imagery. This painting from Kazimir Malevich is far from being complicated or deep but it is one of the most significant work of art to date. Malevich is actually the pioneer of geometric abstraction- that is pretty obvious with his love of squares and rectangles. This artwork was sold in Sotheby’s auction for a staggering $60 million and is the most expensive piece of Russian artwork of all time.
2. No. 5, 1948
To the naked eye, this painting may simply look like a piece of stringy lines splashed around using a yarn, just like those kindergarten art projects kids use to make. This is an artwork done by Jackson Pollock in the year 1948. It is quite a large piece of artwork measuring 8 ft by 4 ft. He is a known abstract expressionist. This painting in fibreboard uses brown, yellow, white and grey paint. It is often tagged as a dense bird’s nest because of the way the strips of paint overlap each other. This artwork was reported to be sold for over $140 million.
1. Black Square
This oil painting was done in oil on linen and is now housed at the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow. As you would have realized by now, the painting is a mere black square. But there is a lot of philosophy and history behind this seemingly plain and dull painting. This piece is dubbed as the ‘zero point of painting’ and a combination of various art methods including futurism and constructivism. This is one of the prime works of Kazimir Malevich, who is the leader in Russian avant-garde art and has several pieces of similar works under this collection. He described this artwork as ‘liberated nothing’.