Klimts fetch record prices at auction





Christie's fall sale of Impressionist and modern art lived up to its billing as the biggest auction in history, led by a group of four Nazi-looted Klimts restored to their rightful heirs that raked in nearly $200 million.

The Klimts included a portrait that fetched the third-highest auction price ever, while new records were also set for Gauguin, Schiele and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner at the $491,472,000 sale.

In the end, however, the night belonged to Klimt, and to Maria Altmann, a Los Angeles nonagenarian and the niece of the Austrian couple Adele and Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer who lost the works to the Nazis.

The four paintings, led by the portrait ``Adele Bloch-Bauer II,'' fetched a total of $192.7 million including Christie's commission -- double the expectations for the works by the Austrian artist which had never been offered on the open market.

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