The most expensive, over-the-top pieces of art owned by tech billionaires

RothkoGetty Images / Cate GillonA work by Mark Rothko on display at Sotheby’s.

Last week, a Picasso painting called”The Women of Algiers (Version 0)” fetched $US179.4 million minutes before a bronze statue by Alberto Giacometti called “Man Pointing” sold for $US141.3 million.

The buyers were anonymous, though a recent New York Times article narrowed the potential Picasso buyers down to 50 suspects — some of whom made their fortunes in tech.

Tech titans have a taste for expensive art. We’ve rounded up some of the biggest purchases here.

Bill Gates set what was then an American art record when he bought Winslow Homer's 'Lost on the Grand Banks' for $36 million in 1998. The painting hangs on a wall outside his home library.

Source: Bloomberg

Inside his library is Childe Hassam's 'Room of Flowers,' a piece that's believed to be worth $20 million.

Source: Bloomberg

He also owns a painting by George Bellows called 'Polo Crowd.' Gates bought the piece anonymously at a Sotheby's auction in 1999, paying a whopping $27.5 million to add it to his collection.

Source: Bloomberg

Gates also owns William Merritt Chase's 'The Nursery,' worth $10 million.

Source: Bloomberg

Gates' first major art buy was 'Distant Thunder' by Andrew Wyeth. He paid $7 million for the piece in 1996.

Source: Bloomberg

He also paid $30.8 million for 'Codex Leicester,' a scientific journal handwritten and illustrated by Leonardo da Vinci.

Source: Bloomberg

Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen has an impressive collection of his own. Monet's 'Rouen Cathedral: Afternoon Effect' is just one piece that was shown during an exhibit at his museum in Seattle.

Source: Newsweek

Allen paid $39.2 million for Paul Gauguin's 'Maternity (II)' in 2004. The piece dates back to 1899.

Source: Newsweek

A bronze statue by Alberto Giacometti, called 'Femme de Venise,' could be worth as much as $5 million. Allen keeps the sculpture on display in his office in Seattle.

Source: Newsweek

Allen also owns Renoir's 'La liseuse,' which last sold for $13.2 million in 2001.

Source: Newsweek

Glass sculptures by Dale Chihuly hang in the entryway to Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer's San Francisco home. These glass pieces of art typically sell for about $15,000 each.

Mayer also keeps several mini Jeff Koons balloon dogs in her kitchen.

Eric Schmidt has been named one of the top art collectors in the world by ARTnews. He has wide-ranging taste, but says that Paul Cezanne is one of his favourite artists: 'To me, it all begins with him,' he told Artsy.

Source: Artsy

In the contemporary art sphere, Schmidt prefers Rudolf Stingel. 'His Palazzo Grassi show will prove to be historical,' he told Artsy.

Source: Artsy

Oracle billionaire Larry Ellison first became interested in the art of Japan when he worked there in the 1970s, and he 'personally studies and approves every proposed acquisition,' according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Pieces from his collection were on display at San Francisco's Asian Art Museum in June 2013.

Source: SF Gate

He reportedly rotates the artwork in his home every other week, in keeping with traditional Japanese practices.

Source: SF Gate

Ellison's collection is rumoured to contain as many as 500 pieces, including Japanese artifacts.

Now see another thing billionaires like to collect.

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