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Steve Thomas Negotiated Sale of the Most Expensive Painting Sold

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May 2006

Steven Thomas, who was retained by Maria Altmann and the other Bloch Bauer heirs following the restitution of five Gustav Klimt paintings, recently negotiated the purchase of the most famous and celebrated one of the paintings, the gold portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer, with the Neue Galerie in New York and its founder Ronald Lauder. The painting, a gold-flecked portrait of Maria Altmann’s aunt, is one of the most expensive paintings ever sold, "exceeding the $104 million paid for Picasso’s 1905 Boy with a Pipe at Sotheby’s in May 2004.”

Mrs. Altmann and her fellow heirs were awarded the five Klimt paintings in January 2006 that were stolen from Altmann’s aunt and uncle by the Nazis in 1938. Besides negotiating the current exhibit of the five paintings at LACMA, and negotiating the soon to open NY exhibit of the paintings after the LACMA exhibition, Steven has also been negotiating with museums and collectors all over the world who were interested in purchasing this high profile painting. The painting Adele Bloch-Bauer I will permanently reside in the Neue Galerie with a special credit to Steven's clients, the Bloch-Bauer family. The story behind this sale and its historical significance in the art world, as well as a description of Steven's efforts on behalf of our clients, can be found in news articles and other media around the world, including the New York TimesLos Angeles TimesWashington Post, BBC, Le FigaroCorriere Della SeraPravda and Wiener Zeitung.

Adele Bloch-Bauer I, which took Klimt three years to create, is considered one of Gustav Klimt’s masterpieces. The painting, along with the four other Klimt paintings, was exhibited in LACMA from April 4th until June 30th, and then in New York through September 18th.