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When van Gogh\’s Sunflowers broke a record

March 30, On This Day


There exist many iterations of Vincent van Gogh’s fascination with sunflowers, but one in particular — Still Life: Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers — made art history on March 30, 1987, when a Japanese insurance magnate reportedly paid the equivalent of US $39,921,750 for the artwork at a Christie’s London auction. Interestingly, the record was broken a few months later with the purchase of another van Gogh, Irises, by Alan Bond for $53.9 million at Sotheby’s, New York on November 11, 1987.

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Originally called Tournesols in French, Sunflowers is the name of two series of still life paintings by van Gogh, both sets linked by the name of his friend and famed artist Paul Gauguin.