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Oprah Winfrey Sells Famed Gustav Klimt Portrait for $150 Million
Talk show host and television executive, Oprah Winfrey, recently did well on an investment made over a decade ago, selling her famed Gustav Klimt 'Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer II' (1912) for $150 million in 2016. The buyer is allegedly an unidentified Chinese collector.
A noted art collector, Winfrey purchased two portraits by Klimt of Adele Bloch-Bauer, at Christie’s in 2006 for $87.9 million. The work was sold to her by Bloch-Bauer heirs after they won a legal battle with the Austrian state museum over five Klimt works seized by the Nazis from Bloch-Bauer’s husband during World War II - a battle that was the subject of the 2015 film Woman in Gold, starring Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds.
Gustav Klimt, Adele Bloch-Bauer II (1912)
The painting went on public view for the first time when Winfrey loaned it to New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in September 2014. She remained anonymous for the duration of the five-year loan.
The painting made headlines again in June 2016, when New York's Neue Galerie announced that the painting would appear in its upcoming exhibition, “Klimt and the Women of Vienna’s Golden Age, 1900–1918”. At the show, it would be reunited with its predecessor, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer, purchased by the gallery's co-founder Ronald Lauder for $135 million in 2006, the most expensive painting ever sold at that time.
Gustav Klimt, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I (1907)
Art collector, David Geffen, Winfrey's friend and fellow entertainment mogul who originally arranged her painting's loan to MoMA, was approached by art dealer Larry Gagosian, who had a client willing to buy the work. In the ten years that Winfrey had owned it, it had appreciated 71 percent. Another famous Klimt painting, Water Serpents II, was sold in a private sale to an Asian buyer by Russian billionaire collector Dmitry Rybolovlev in November 2015, for $170 million.
Gustav Klimt, Water Serpents II (1904)
The Adele Bloch-Bauer II will be on display at the Neue Galerie until the end of July, before it journeys to its new home in the East.
For more information, visit the Neue Galerie.