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Paintings - General
Painting is arguably the most saleable form of art. It is also among the oldest of mediums, dating back more than 31,000 years to prehistoric cave paintings. In the West, painting did not surpass tapestry in importance until the 18th century, though many masterworks date to the Renaissance or earlier. Painting later went out of fashion from the 1970s through the 1990s as a mode of expression for contemporary artists.
In the new millennium, painting has recovered its popularity, and the practice has remained fairly unchanged. Paints remain a mixture of colored pigment and binder, and common subject matters still comprise imagery or inspiration from the objects or events in artists’ daily lives. The contemporary painter’s palette consists not only of colors, but the range of historic painting styles.
Recent ballooning sales figures reflect a long-recorded trend that closely ties paintings sales to the boom (and bust) of the economy. The highest price paid for a single painting occurred during a private sale in early 2015. Paul Gauguin’s “Nafea faa ipoipo? (When will you marry?)” of 1892 was bought for $300 million. Just three months later, Christie’s New York announced the sale of Pablo Picasso’s “Les Femmes d'Alger (Women of Algiers)” of 1955 for $179.4 million – the highest priced painting ever sold at auction.