19 November 1998

The portrait of the ‘Artist Without Beard’ by Vincent van Gogh sells at auction for US$71.5 million.


The last self portrait of the famous artist Vincent van Gogh, titled “Portrait de l’artiste sans barbe ” or “Portrait of the Artist Without Beard ” sold at an auction in New York for US $71.5 million, making it one of the most expensive paintings of all time. The Dutch artist painted the 1889 self-portrait after he had shaved and gifted the painting to his mother for her 70th birthday, not long before he committed suicide in 1890. In 1998, the Van Gogh painting was one of 10 paintings put up for auction by the heirs of Jacques Koerfer, a German-born collector and the former chairman of the BMW who had died in 1991. The highest bid for the painting reached, almost three times its high estimate at $71.5 million. The buyer remains anonymous even today.