Scary beautiful: top 10 ugly paintings that are now worth millions
1. Quinten Massys, An Old Woman ('The Ugly Duchess')
Why has Massys addressed the ugliness? He wanted to hint the young ladies that everything has its time, and they should dress and behave according to their age.
2. Francis Bacon, Three Studies of Lucian Freud
Sometimes this work literally makes your head ache. Bacon realistically showed how the person looks in a full emotional "exasperation". If we are at odds with ourselves, we break into pieces and cause irritation to everyone around. The only rescue is to gather up again!
3. Francisco Goya, Saturn Devouring One of His Sons
14 mural paintings that decorated the house known as "la Quinta del Sordo" ("House of the deaf" for its last owner did not hear) where Goya lived have come to be known as the Pinturas negras (Black Paintings). For 50 years no one has seen them, except for the guests of Goya. Baron Émile d´Erlanger acquired "la Quinta" in 1873 and had the paintings transferred to canvas by Salvador Martinez Cubells. The works suffered enormously in the process, losing a large amount of paint. The Baron wanted to sell the paintings at the exhibition in Paris, but finally, he donated them to the State, and they were sent to the Prado Museum, where they have been on view since 1889.
Viewers often ask why the painting is so gloomy? But how else can a deity look like, devouring his children in fear of losing his power?
4. Pieter Bruegel the Elder, The Beggars (also The Cripples)
On 5 April, 1566, 200 Calvinist nobles — united by the cry "Vive le gueux" (long live the beggar!) and therefore dubbed ‘the Beggars' — rode through Brussels to present a petition of demands to Philip’s Regent, Margaret of Parma. Bruegel, who was living in Brussels at the time, probably saw them riding past. So, the painting is thought to contain an allusion to the political situation of the day and the Beggars' Revolt against the Spanish occupation.
Also this work would be a satirical parody, with the beggars representing the different classes of a society on the road to ruin. The classes are indicated by their headgear: a cardboard crown for the king, a paper coiffe for the army, a beret for the bourgeoisie, a cap for the peasantry, and a bishop’s mitre for the church.
5. Otto Dix, Sailor and Girl
Dix, like Bruegel, clearly has caught social waves and moods and vividly joked about things that in fact were not fun at all. In one single painting he could reveal the whole character and display the tragicomedy of its life, as in case of the "Sailor and Girl".
Every work of Otto Dix is a total movie.
Do you consider him a provocateur who could not draw? Just look at his technical self-portrait.
6. Frida Kahlo, My Birth
The painting by Frida Kahlo is in a collection of Madonna. The pop singer claims that, "If somebody doesn’t like this painting, then I know they can’t be my friend."
So, what did Frida want to tell us? Perhaps, that any person is a psychologist, a rescuer and a golden fish for himself/herself. As Phoenixes, we are born and re-born several times during our lifetime. Often pain accompanies growth.
7. Oskar Kokoschka, The Red Egg
In his book "My Life," Oskar Kokoschka commented on this painting, "A roast chicken, prepared to be served — Czechoslovakia — flies away and drops a red egg on the table. Prague burns in the background. Mussolini sits at the table with Hitler, who is wearing a soldier’s helmet made of paper. A cat lies beneath the table with a Napoleonic hat and a cockade. Behind them is the lion of England, its tail twisted into a pound sign, atop a pedestal reading "In Pace Munich."
The Agreement was signed by representatives of France, Great Britain, Germany and Italy. Diplomats decided to sacrifice Czechoslovakia to prevent a world war. Alas, it did not help.
8. Willem de Kooning, Woman III
It has a rich travel history. From late 1970s the painting was part of Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art collection, but after the islamic revolution in 1979, the situation has changed. The painting depicting naked woman could not be shown to public any more.
Finally, in 1994 it was sold outside Iran.
In November 2006, one American millionaire sold the "Woman III" to another billionaire for $137.5 million.
9. José de Ribera, Magdalena Ventura with Her Husband and Son
So the Duke ordered a portrait of Magdalena to the artist José de Ribera.