Gustav Klimt, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer II, 1912.
Bloomberg's Katya Kazakina reports that billionaire media mogul Oprah Winfrey sold a Gustav Klimt masterpiece for $150 million to a Chinese buyer in 2016, according to an anonymous source with knowledge of the deal.
Oprah bought “Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer II” for an artist auction record price of $87.9 million in 2006 at Christie’s in New York. In ten years, the work gained 71% when it was sold in one of 2016's biggest art transactions.
The work is the second major Klimt that changed hands since the art market started contracting. Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev sold “Water Serpents II” (1904-1907) privately for $170 million in November 2015, according to Sandy Heller, Rybolovlev’s art consultant. Both Klimts went to Asia, where booming wealth has built a growing network of collectors eager to anchor their art holdings with Western masterpieces.
“Klimt is on the list of some people,” said Grace Rong Li, who advises Asian collectors on Western modern and contemporary art. The appeal of the artist, known for his golden-hued “The Kiss,” is both aesthetic and financial, she added.
“Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer II,” from 1912, depicts a woman in a long, narrow robe and halo-like black hat, standing against an ornate background of mauve and green. The subject, Bloch-Bauer, was the wife of a Jewish industrialist and art patron in Vienna.