Whether you travel the world to look at famous paintings, or merely Google them from the comfort of your office chair, art from different countries around the world provides a window into that country's history and soul. Picasso's "Guernica" is a famous record of the suffering of the Spanish Civil War, while the pop art of the 1950s and 1960s captured America's preoccupation with advertising and consumerism.
Now a series of maps collects some of that artistic history together for you. Created by howmuch.net, a cost information site, the maps show the most expensive art works ever created by an artist of that nationality or painted in that country.
In North America, for example, the U.S. borders contain an image of "Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster)" which pop art king Andy Warhol (the guy who painted Marilyn Monroe and the soup cans) created in 1963. Sotheby's auctioned the painting for $105 million in 2013.
In Mexico, the most expensive piece sold is Rufino Tamayo's "Trovador." The painting was valued at $7.2 million in its 2008 sale, eclipsing Frida Kahlo's "Roots" as the most expensive Latin American painting sold.
The Cuban painting is "ídolo (Oya/Divinité de l’air et de la mort)" by Wilfredo Lam, valued at more than $4.5 million. In Canada, the record is held by Canadian artist Lawren Stewart Harris, whose "The Old Stump, Lake Superior" piece last sold for $3.3 million.
The European map is probably the most interesting, for its diversity of color and name recognition. Most of the world's most expensive paintings were created in Europe, the authors write.
Topping the list of the continent's most expensive paintings is "Les Femmes d'Alger" ("The Women of Algiers") by Picasso of Spain. Despite being one of Picasso's less famous works, the painting sold in May for $179 million, a new world record -- prompting commentators to ask, "Is any painting really worth $179m?"
The rest of the list also reads like a Who's Who of art: Works by Edvard Munch of Norway, Gustav Klimt of Austria, Britain's Francis Bacon, Van Gogh of the Netherlands, Gerhard Richter from Germany, Amedeo Modigliani from Italy, Peter Paul Rubens of Belgium and Kazimir Severinovich Malevich of Russia.
In South America, the most expensive piece of art is Robert Matta's "La Révolte des Contraires," which was painted in Chile. The Brazilian piece is by Lygia Clark, while Fernando Botero's famously rotund characters occupy Colombia. The painting from Uruguay is by Joaquín Torres Garcia.
In Asia, the most expensive piece of art is by 20th Century artist Zhang Daqian, worth an impressive $24 million. These are followed by works by S. Sudjojono of Indonesia, Chen Chengbo of Taiwan, and Yayoi Kusama of Japan.
The Australian painting, Brett Whiteley's "My Armchair," sold for $3.7 million.
There are definitely some countries missing above (New Zealand, we feel your pain), not to mention the continent of Africa. The authors caution that information about some painting sales is hard to find, and they are still missing data for some countries. If you have more up to date information, they invite you to write in.
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