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4 Extremely Expensive Auctioned Artworks From Poland You Need To See

Photo: Renaud Camus / Flickr

Ever wondered who the most sought-after Polish artists are? Curious about the value of their most highly prized works? Here’s Culture.pl’s list of the most expensive auctioned artworks from Poland. Such a list may be controversial for a number of reasons – between the unclear issues of Polish nationality, the methodology of establishing a ranking and last, but not least, the prices themselves. We used data from official auctions as our source – which means we’re only talking here about paintings which were sold in that context (not private or institutional purchases). Without further ado, here’s what we found out thanks to a wonderful article from Culture.pl where you can see the rest of the list.

1. ‘La Musicienne’ by Tamara de Lempicka (1929)

  • Sold at Christie’s, London, on 11th November 2018 for $9,087,500

My favourite painter from my favourite era #tamaradelempicka #1898 #1980 this #masterpiece is an #oilincanvas called the #themusician #lamusicienne made in #1929 also featured on #Madonna #iconic #Vogue video #199 Tamara was an #artdeco #painter born in #Warsaw #Poland #1920s #roaringtwenties #art #painting #cubism #glamour #femaleartist #oldhollywood #goldenageofhollywood #classic #iconic #academiedelagrandechaumiere #paris

51 Likes, 24 Comments – The Frankses (@aleandkevinfranks) on Instagram: “My favourite painter from my favourite era #tamaradelempicka #1898 #1980 this #masterpiece is an…”

You may not have even known that she was Polish in the first place. Tamara Łempicka (yes, this is how we spell her name in Poland), the ultimate Art Deco master, is generally considered a French artist, which is not surprising considering that she spent almost all of her career in the West – most importantly, in Paris and the US. But she was born in Warsaw, Poland, to a Russian Jewish father and a Polish mother, and her first husband (Tadeusz Łempicki) was also Polish. Lempicka is no doubt the most Polish artist and one of the most expensive woman painters in the world. Considering that 24 of her paintings have sold for over $1 million, her work would fill up most of this list – so we chose just one painting.

2. ‘Dance Among Swords’ by Henryk Siemiradzki (1887)

  • Sold at Sotheby’s, New York, on 12th April 2011 for $1,800,000

. Dance Among Swords Henryk Siemiradzki, 1887 #bestpaintings #dailyart #dailypaintings #artclub #artwork #famouspainters #follow4follow #like4like #followme #like #enjoy #instaart #artoftheday #oilpaintings #floristic #inspiration #artsy #beauty #history #ivankramskoy #famous #famousartists #love #angel #danceamongswords #polish #henryksiemiradzki

104 Likes, 2 Comments – Daily Art Club (@daily.artclub) on Instagram: “. Dance Among Swords Henryk Siemiradzki, 1887 #bestpaintings #dailyart #dailypaintings #artclub…”

In a way, Siemiradzki is a similar case to Łempicka, as most of the art world considers him to be a Russian painter – and that’s also how he is presented at auctions (as Genrykh Ippolitovich Semiradskii). He was born in eastern Ukraine, not far from Kharkiv, to a very patriotic Polish family. Educated in St. Petersburg, he spent most of his life in Rome, which became his life-long fascination. Apart from the Dance, four other paintings by Siemiradzki have sold for over $1 million, among them Un Naufragé Mendiant (1878) (See the Polish list below) and The Girl or the Vase (1887).

3. ‘1-∞ detail-4875812-4894230’ by Roman Opałka (1965)

  • Sold at Christie’s, London, on 14th October 2010 for $1,078,412

#compétentdanssabranche #romanopałka

9 Likes, 0 Comments – Julien Farenc (@super_cellulaire) on Instagram: “#compétentdanssabranche #romanopałka”

Often called ‘the painter of infinity’, Roman Opałka is most famous for his lifelong project in which he painted minuscule white numbers on black canvas. With time, the colour of the initially black canvas gradually became brighter and the numbers harder to discern. Opałka painted his ‘counting paintings’ from the year 1965 until his death in 2011.

4. ‘Lampe Bouche’ by Alina Szapocznikow (ca. 1969)

  • Sold at Pierre Bergé & Associés, Brussels on 4th December 2011 for $643,152

Słynne rzeźby Aliny Szapocznikow na wystawie @hepworthwakefield. To pierwsza retrospektywa artystki w Wielkiej Brytanii. Dokumentację prezentujemy w #szumweekend. #alinaszapocznikow #rzezba #sculpture #ciało #body #lampebouche #polishart #polishartist

314 Likes, 1 Comments – Magazyn Szum (@magazynszum) on Instagram: “Słynne rzeźby Aliny Szapocznikow na wystawie @hepworthwakefield. To pierwsza retrospektywa artystki…”

The once-forgotten Alina Szapocznikow (1926-1973) has regained the art world’s recognition in recent years following the Sculpture Undone exhibitions, culminating at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York in 2012.


Written by Mikołaj Gliński, 23 October, 2015; updated by MN & LD, Jun 2019
Source: www.artinfo.pl, www.artprice.com, www.cultura.onet.pl, DESA Unicum

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