A painting by French artist Paul Gauguin, titled "Nafea Faa Ipoipo (When Will You Marry?)," has just broken the record for the most expensive work of art ever sold. It fetched $300 million and was reportedly sold by Swiss art collector Rudolf Staechelin to the state-financed Qatar Museums.
The wealthy Arab nation, known for its abundance of oil and natural gas, also set the previous record when it purchased Paul Cézanne's "The Card Players" for $259 million in 2011. The Qatar royal family and the nation's museum authorities have dropped exorbitant sums for art in the past, including works by Francis Bacon and Mark Rothko.
The record-breaking Gauguin painting depicts two Tahitian women seated in a bright, natural setting. Known for his colorful and experimental style, Gauguin lived in French Polynesia for a period of time, where he became fascinated with Tahitian life—particularly the women.
Like many artists, Gauguin's talent was unrecognized during his lifetime and he eventually died penniless. His works would later have a lasting impact on the French avant-garde, with artists like Picasso and Matisse citing him as an important influence on their art.