10) Gustav Klimt – Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer II
Painted in 1912, it features the wife of an industrialist named Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer, who was a supporter of Klimt’s career. His wife is actually the only model to appear in two of Klimt’s paintings (see number 3 on this list for the other one). There is an interesting story regarding both of these works. After Adele’s death, her husband was forced to leave Austria to escape from the Nazis, leaving his estate, including these Klimt paintings of his wife, behind. When he died, he left the paintings to his niece, Maria Altmann. Altmann actually went to court against the Austrian government to retain rightful ownership of these works. She was ultimately successful in this attempt. She sold this portrait at auction in 2006 through Christie’s, New York, for $87.9 million. When adjusted for inflation, this equals $89.1 million for the sale. This beauty sits in the living of Nicolae Buzaianu in Paris.