How much is the Starry Night worth?
When doing research about the Starry Night I realized how popular the painting actually is. People from all different countries were sharing their passion and opinions about this artwork. Wondering how Van Gogh came to paint this piece of art. What was he seeing, experiencing, what went through is mind. These are all interesting questions, but the thing people were wondering about the most is I found, how much is it actually worth?
This question is hard to answer of course, because it hasn’t been sold in recent times. There is no catalog that shows the prices of original Vincent Van Gogh paintings. Because of this most people would say this painting is priceless. And of course it’s beauty would make it priceless, it’s a fun thought to try and put a price on the painting. If the MoMa in New York for some reason really needed a lot of money, and they feel the need to sell its masterpiece. How much would it go for?
There are a few factors that would play a role to make this estimation. How much did other famous masterpieces sell for? How popular or famous is The Starry Night compared to the other paintings? Who would be interested in buying this painting?
If we start with the popularity question, it’s very hard to deny its greatness. If you google what the most famous paintings are, different articles would say the Starry Night comes in at number 3 right after The Mona Lisa, and The Last Supper, both painted by Leonardo Da Vinci. That’s good company to be around. And since The Last Supper was a mural painting, painted on the walls inside a church in Milan, the only sellable painting more famous then The Starry Night, would be the Mona Lisa.
To answer the second question, who would be interested in buying this painting? After answering the first question, it seems quite easy to know the answer to this one. All museums in the world would love to have this painting in their gallery. From the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam, to the British National gallery. The United States alone have plenty museum spread around the country who would love and be able to house such a painting. And besides the museums there are other type of buyers. The super rich business man/oil magnet/middle eastern prince. The super rich can miss a couple of hundred millions for the beauty and prestige for a world famous painting.
So if we look at the last question, how much did other similar world famous paintings sell for? The most expensive painting ever sold at this point of writing, is ‘Salvator Mundi’ painted by Leonardo Da Vinci. It was sold for $450 million US dollar to a Saudi Prince. The painter of this piece is well known, but I’m sure most of you didn’t know this painting existed. This goes up as well for many of the other paintings in this list. The artist are all very well known, but the paintings, with some exceptions, aren’t the most known pieces. Other paintings on the list are, ‘Interchange’ by Willem de Kooning, sold for $300 million and ‘The Card Players’ by Paul Cézanne, sold for over $250 million.
Comparing The Starry Night to these paintings is hard to do. The difference in notoriety is immense. All museums who are interested would probably max out the entire budget they are allowed to spend on a new piece. Of course there is a cap to this, since they still have to make money. The Mona Lisa was insured for $850 million dollar in 2019. Since you’re insurance gets more expensive the higher the payout is for the insurance company, you can assume that The Louvre Museum didn’t set the value for of their most famous work all maxed up. Assuming this painting would be worth over 1 billion US dollar, I would say the Starry Night is worth around 1 billion US dollars.