Prince Hans-Adam II von und zu Liechtenstein
Much of the massive art collection (reportedly over 1,600 works and counting) belonging to Hans-Adam II, the reigning Prince of Liechtenstein, is displayed at the Liechtenstein Museum in Vienna. “It has always been a tradition of the family to show our art to the public,” Hans-Adam II told the Art Newspaper in 2004. “World War II forced my father to put it into storage. It is a great pleasure for me, and for the whole family, to show it again.” The collection was kept hidden for a portion of the 19th century, when the Nazis invaded Austria in 1938. The family spent around $27.4 million to convert one their palaces into a gallery fitting of masterworks by Raphael, Rembrandt and Van Dyck. The Garden Palace displays around 200 paintings, spanning the Renaissance to the 19th century, at a time. Hans-Adam II owns the LG banking group and has a personal fortune of about $4 billion, according to various published reports. He is believed to be Europe’s wealthiest monarch.
In an interview in 2015, Hans-Adam II was asked about Leonardo da Vinci’s portrait of the 16-year-old Ginevra de’ Benci, one of the world’s most valuable paintings, which was once in his family’s collection. He answered: “ [I]t was one of the many pieces of art which was sold. It was in a storage room here in the Castle of Vaduz. In 1945, when the Red Army was approaching Czechoslovakia, where 80% of my family’s assets were located, my father brought pieces of our art collection to some safe storage facilities near Vienna and near Salzburg. The Leonardo was among the works that my father personally carried in his car.” It was sold to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, for $5 million, at the time the most ever paid for a work of art.