Which Famous Paintings Were Sold Cheap?

Oil paintings have been the most dominant and celebrated painting medium in the history of art. These have explicitly been lauded and appreciated because of their versatility, ability to create a wide range of opacity, and intensity in terms of the array of hues one could make out of them. 

Although oil painting is still very famous in the modern era, the most popular works were done in the past like Mona Lisa and Starry Nights. Famous painters like Van Gogh and Da Vinci have painted hundreds of oil paintings and mesmerized people through the magic in their hands as they craft it on canvas. 

You must be wondering that famous oil paintings would probably cost you an arm and a leg, but not really! This article will enlighten you with the past’s famous paintings, the beauty behind them, and where you can find these paintings cheaply. 

Famous Paintings of the Past

Gaining prominence in the 15th Century, oil painting has been in people’s hearts and remains an attractive form of art since forever. Western art revolves around oil painting, albeit mostly in the traditional periods supported by artists like Vincent Van Gogh and Gustav Klimt, along with others.

Cafe Terrace on the Place du Forum

Café Terrace on the Place du Forum was painted by Vincent Van Gogh in 1888 and was his first painting to feature in the rendering of starry skies. Van Gogh describes this painting as a “night picture without any black in it” – the artwork is quite detailed and portrays a very warm ambiance as it shows the scenery around a café under the night sky. Van Gogh’s life was mostly clouded with depression and doubt, but this painting shows us some hope in his life. The painting is now worth around $200 Million. 

The Kiss

The Kiss

The Kiss was painted by Gustav Klimt in 1907 and was considered a great work of art – it is one of the world’s most recognizable artworks. The painting celebrates love and all of its delicacies in a beautiful way. It rejoices a couple’s communion of love and simultaneously proposes an elegant yet ornamental style in the artwork – owing much to the Byzantine mosaics. To get a hold of this magnificent painting, the Belvedere Museum paid around 25,000 crowns, which is about $240,000 today. 

Starry Night

The Starry Night

Van Gogh’s Starry Night was painted a year after Starry Night Over the Rhone. Van Gogh painted it through the help of his memory and from all that he could recall of his sanatorium window in Southern France. 

Van Gogh talks more about this in a letter and says that he stared at the scenery till sunrise and began painting in the morning. Starry Night discards all the Impressionist values and makes way for the Expressionist era – which is the essence of the painting. Since the painting was donated to the New York Museum of Modern Art, there is no clue about the price it was originally sold for, but it is well worth over $100 million now. 

Girl with a Pearl Earring 

Girl with a Pearl Earring

Painted by Jan Vermeer Van Delft in 1665, it is one of the artist’s most mysterious paintings and is a very recognizable painting in art history. The picture of this woman wearing a pearl earring is considered the Mona Lisa of the north – such is its brilliance and appreciativeness. 

There is simplicity in the way she is dressed, and there is simplicity in the color pattern of this art, all of which contribute to making this painting a commendable work of art. The first 200 years of this painting were some sort of a mystery, because when it was finally found in 1881, it was in a terrible condition but Des Tombe bought it for a price of two guilders, which is only 30 cents! 

Boreas 1903

Boreas 1903

Painted in 1903 by John William Waterhouse, Boreas features Britain’s very own legend known as ‘Lady of Shallot’ based on Tennyson’s poem. The woman is portrayed in the most eccentric and gorgeous ways through color combinations used by the artist. 

Waterhouse made sure he had paid extra attention to the delicate features of the woman’s face to brighten the artwork’s beauty – this is why the painting is one of his most recognized ones. After being lost for around 90 years, the painting was finally sold in mid 1990s for 848,500 pounds which is $1,293,962USD. 

Mona Lisa

Last but certainly not least is the Mona Lisa, painted by Leonardo Da Vinci between 1503 and 1505. This painting is, without a doubt, the most celebrated artwork globally and is worth the recognition as well. The picture is a symbolic representation of the wife of Francesco del Giocondo, Lisa Gherardini. It’s a centerpiece of the Musée du Louvre’s collection since 1797. Many people have attempted to steal or destroy the painting because of the fame attached to it. However, the artwork is almost sacred to many art enthusiasts and artists globally and has lived in people’s minds ever since its existence. Permanently found in the Louvre in Paris, the painting was sold for $100 million in 1962, which is worth around $850 million now!


When it comes to popular oil painting, dozens of artworks can be explored by people, but only a certain number of them can be counted as classics. These classics have been famous and appreciated since their existence – and will continue to be in the near future. No artist can perhaps come close to the beauty behind Mona Lisa or Starry Night, which is why the paintings remain a vintage décor in many households.