Portrait Of Adele Bloch-Bauer I1907 by Gustav Klimt

Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I was the most expensive work of art ever sold at auction.

Arguably more famous than Klimt’s entwined, decoratively robed lovers on a cliff edge is his 1907 Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I. This was commissioned in 1903 by Bloch-Bauer’s husband, a Jewish banker and sugar producer. Here Klimt treats the sitter’s face and arms with a straightforward realism, while her billowing dress and intricately rendered, gold surroundings are a study in ornate abstraction. The arresting painting remained in the Bloch-Bauer family’s possession until it was seized by the Nazis during World War II and hung in the Austrian State Gallery. In 2006, after a lengthy court battle, one of Bloch-Bauer’s nieces, Maria Altmann reclaimed ownership of the work, selling it at auction the same year for $135 million – the most money ever paid for a work of art at auction.
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