The seller of Gustav Klimt’s strikingly colorful portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer, which traded hands last summer for $150 million, is billionaire entertainment mogul Oprah Winfrey, according to a report by Bloomberg’s Katya Kazakina. The private sale, to a Chinese collector, was brokered by dealer Larry Gagosian and businessman David Geffen.
Winfrey bought “Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer II” (1912) at Christie’s landmark November 8, 2006 sale for $87.9 million (an auction record for the Vienna Secession artist that still stands). She recently (anonymously) loaned it to the Neue Galerie for the exhibition Klimt and the Women of Vienna’s Golden Age, 1900–1918, where it hung alongside Klimt’s other portrait of Bloch-Bauer, the iconic, gold-hued “Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I” from 1907, which the museum’s founder, Ronald Lauder, bought in 2006 for a reported $135 million — at the time, the highest price ever paid for an artwork. Both works were part of a set of Nazi-looted paintings that were restituted to Bloch-Bauer’s heirs in 2006. The legal battle to secure the works’ return from the Austrian government was the subject of the 2015 film starring Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds titled Woman in Gold.
The painting recently sold by Winfrey will remain on view at the Neue Galerie, as part of the exhibition Austrian Masterworks from the Neue Galerie New York, through September 25. After that, it may not go on public view again until the day it turns up in the anonymous buyer’s private museum.
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