Adele Bloch-Bauer I Sold for $135 Million – Highest Sum Ever Paid for a Work of Art

This is the “Gustav Klimt, Adele Bloch-Bauer I, 1907.” Adele here looks like a Mona Lisa alter-ego with her ambiguous smile and posture. If you notice, she is covering a deformed finger (ergo the positioning of the hands). Imperfect as she may be, Adele was a woman ahead of her time in the early 1900’s. Aside from being a wife and mother – she hosted a saloon where the influential personalities of her day congregated. She’s supposedly a Viennese manufacturer’s wife but in here, she looks like a queen. Yes, the art itself is made of real gold and silver pieces. It took Klimt several hundred sketches and 3 years to finish this piece.

I don’t usually comment on art, but this one is extremely extravagant and unlike the premiere classic masterpieces that rely on the sole talent and later on the name (or fame) of the artist.

This painting sold for a record $135 million, the highest sum ever paid for a work of art. More than the gold and the canvass though, I think they just paid for this piece’s amazing journey…

Said to be a portrait of Viennese wife, Adele Bloch-Bauer, who had a rumored love affair with the artist, this painting was plundered along with many others by the Nazis’ hoarding of European art. Surfacing years later in the Viennese museum. This led to a 60-year dispute over ownership, and more recently an 8-year battle for custody between the Austrian government and the heirs of Adele Bloch-Bauer. Her dying wish was to have her portraits remain in Austria, but as fate would have it, after World War 2 their family was scattered all throughout Europe and America. Her husband rewrote his will to disregard his wife’s last wishes, and left the portrait to his brother’s children, of whom only 1 remains alive (Maria Altmann, 90) The latter was awarded custody only January this year.

She’s not beautiful – as defined by contemporary standards (but then neither was Mona Lisa). But there’s just something about her. Behind the gold trimmings, just as numerous reviews have given praise, she radiates luxe, calme, et voluptÃ?©.

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