Oprah Winfrey is best known for her talk show, but did you also know that the billionaire businesswoman is an avid art collector? In 2015, the media mogul partnered with Leslie Hindman Auctioneers to sell 500 pieces of English and French art that included paintings, drawings, crystals, clothing, and furniture all right from her home in Chicago. In 2016 Winfrey was at it again, selling a single famous painting in one of the biggest private art of deals of the year.
The Klimt Painting
Oprah Winfrey reportedly sold a Gustav Klimt painting for a whopping $150 million in a private art deal in 2016. The 1912 Klimt painting, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer II, depicts a woman in a long robe and large black hat, standing against a background with pinks, greens, and blues and what appear to be flowers. The portrait is of Bloch-Bauer who was the wife of a Jewish industrialist and art patron in Vienna. Winfrey purchased the beautiful painting back in 2006 for $87.9 million at Christie’s Auction House in New York. The price tag was an auction record for Klimt and since its purchase, the painting’s value skyrocketed 71 percent.
Winfrey lent the painting to the Museum of Modern Art in the fall of 2014 before lending it to the Neue Galerie Museum of German and Austrian art. It was on display next to Klimt’s other work of art titled Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I, which was painted in 1907 for the exhibition, “Klimt and the Women of Vienna’s Golden Age, 1900-1918.” When the portrait was displayed with its predecessor at the Neue Galerie, Scott Gutterman, the museum’s deputy director stated, “Adele Bloch-Bauer is the only subject Klimt is known to have portrayed twice – first in the iconic 1901 ‘golden portrait,’ then in 1912 in a very different, exuberantly colored work.” He added, “Seeing the two works side by side allows the viewer to see how Klimt’s work changed during this key period in his artistic development.” Now Klimt’s portrait will have a new home as it was purchased by an unidentified buyer.
The portrait is now the second Klimt work of art that will travel to Asia. In November 2015, Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev sold “Water Serpents II” (1904-1907) in a private auction for $170 million. According to Bloomberg.com, Asia’s wealthy are growing their collections of Western art.
Other Winfrey Art Sales
Some other notable works of art that Winfrey has sold include an oil painting by Hovsep Pushman titled The Little Mother, which depicts a young black girl holding a white baby doll in her arms. The painting had a pre-sale estimate of $35,000 to $45,000. Another painting sold by Winfrey was The Red Scarf by Richard Edward Miller, which shows a naked woman standing at her window with a red scarf draped around her body. This piece was said to be one of the biggest sellers of the night at around $80,000 to $120,000. The proceeds of Oprah’s 2015 auction went toward the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy Foundation for Girls, which supports girls in South Africa.