How Checkbook Art History Elevated Gustav Klimt To The $100 Million Club

This article originally appeared on artnet News.
by Eileen Kinsella


Gustav Klimt, Adele Bloch-Bauer I (1907) ©Neue Galerie New York.

Nine years ago, when cosmetics magnate and top collector Ronald Lauder, co-founder of the Neue Galerie, shelled out a reported $135 million for Gustav Klimt’s Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I (1907), many in the art world were stunned (see Why Ronald Lauder is Right About Nazi-Looted Art in Museums).

At that point, only one work had ever sold for more than $100 million at auction—according to public records—and that was Picasso’s undeniable Rose-period masterpiece Boy With a Pipe (1905) sold at Sotheby’s New York in May 2004. No one cast any doubt on that landmark price. Not only was Picasso considered one of the best artists in the world—if not the best—that particular masterpiece

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