How Checkbook Art History Elevated Gustav Klimt to the $100 Million Club

Eileen Kinsella,
Monday, April 6, 2015


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

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