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Last Updated: Monday, 19 June 2006, 08:56 GMT 09:56 UK
The art gems that broke the bank
Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer by Gustav Klimt (detail)
The Klimt sale is reportedly subject to a confidentiality agreement
A 1907 portrait by Gustav Klimt has reportedly been sold for $135 million.

If the reports are correct, it is the most ever paid for a single painting.

According to the New York Times, the portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer was bought by cosmetics magnate Ronald S Lauder.

But what have been the other record-breakers of recent years?

THE WORLD'S PREVIOUS MOST EXPENSIVE

Garcon a la Pipe by Pablo Picasso
Picasso painted Garcon a la Pipe when he was 24
1. Pablo Picasso, Garcon a la Pipe, $104m, May 2004
This painting of a young Parisian working boy crowned with a garland of roses, holding a pipe in his left hand, broke the $100m barrier when bought by an anonymous bidder at Sotheby's in New York.

Painted in 1905 when the artist was 24, it has been described as one of the most beautiful and important of the artist's Rose period.

However, Picasso's friend and biographer John Richardson reportedly said it was a "grotesque price" and the buyer should have spent it on "something much more worthwhile".

Picasso's Dora Maar With Cat (detail)
Dora Maar With Cat was one of Picasso's last portraits
2. Pablo Picasso, Dora Maar With Cat, $95.2m, May 2006
Two years later, this portrait of Picasso's lover Dora Maar became the second most expensive painting ever sold at auction.

Like Garcon a la Pipe, it was sold to an anonymous buyer at Sotheby's in New York.

Maar's influence on the artist is thought to have resulted in the most daring portraits of his career.

3. Vincent van Gogh, Portrait of Dr Gachet, $82.5m, May 1990
Bought by Japanese businessman Ryoei Saito at Christie's in New York, this cost $30m more than anybody had paid for a painting at that time.

But Mr Saito threatened to have it cremated with him when he died to avoid a large inheritance tax.

He later said he was joking but did die six years later - and it was not clear whether the painting belonged to his heirs, his company or his creditors. Its whereabouts are still unknown.

Two days after purchasing the van Gogh, Mr Saito splashed out again by buying Renoir's Au Moulin de la Galette for $78m.

BRITAIN'S MOST EXPENSIVE

Giudecca, La Donna della Salute and San Giorgio by JMW Turner
The painting was inspired by a visit Turner made to Venice in 1840
1. JMW Turner, Giudecca, La Donna della Salute and San Giorgio, $35.8m, April 2006
This view of Venice, painted in 1841, was bought by a private collector for $32m.

The final sum paid - the most ever paid for a Turner work - included an auction house commission of 12%.

2. John Constable, The Lock, $21.1m, November 1990
3. Joshua Reynolds, Omai, $14.7m, November 2001
Source: Artprice/BBC



SEE ALSO
Picasso portrait fetches $95.2m
04 May 06 |  Entertainment
Turner painting sets sale record
06 Apr 06 |  Entertainment
Picasso painting sells for $104m
06 May 04 |  Entertainment
Who buys paintings for $104m?
06 May 04 |  Magazine

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