Long-Lost Gustav Klimt Portrait Sells For ‘Only’ GBP 26 Million At Auction

A long-lost portrait by Austrian artist Gustav Klimt has sold for nearly GBP 26 million at auction, considerably less than expected.

The auction took place in the Austrian capital Vienna on Wednesday, 24th April, going to a bidder from Hong Kong for EUR 30 million (GBP 25.7 million).

The footage shows the moment the auctioneer accepted the winning bid.

It had been estimated at between EUR 30 million and EUR 50 million (GBP 42.8 million), with some even saying it could reach EUR 70 million (GBP 60 million).

Auctioneer Michael Kovacek reportedly started the auction at EUR 28 million (GBP 24 million), but only received three bids in total, including from the winning bidder who was in the room.

The Viennese auction house im Kinsky had said (in English) ahead of the auction, which took place on 24th April: “The auction house im Kinsky will present a rediscovered masterpiece of Austrian Modernism: the Portrait of Fraulein Lieser, one of the last works created by Gustav Klimt.

Image shows Gustav Klimts “Portrait of Fraeulein Lieser”, undated photo. It fetched nearly GBP 26 million on an auction in Vienna, Austria, on Wednesday, Apr. 24, 2024. (Auktionshaus im Kinsky GmbH, Wien/Newsflash)

“The painting was previously considered lost. For many decades, this important work of art has been privately owned by an Austrian citizen, unknown to the public.”

The auction has also said: “The rediscovery of this portrait, one of the most beautiful of Klimt’s last creative period, is a sensation. As a key figure of Viennese Art Nouveau, Gustav Klimt epitomizes fin de siècle Austrian Modernism more than any other artist.

“His work, particularly his portraits of successful women from the upper middle class at the turn of the century, enjoy the highest recognition worldwide. Klimt’s paintings rank in the top echelons of the international art market. His portraits of women are seldom offered at auctions.

“A painting of such rarity, artistic significance, and value has not been available on the art market in Central Europe for decades. This also applies to Austria, where no work of art of even approximate importance has been available.

“Before the Portrait of Fraulein Lieser is offered in a special auction at the auction house im Kinsky in Vienna on April 24, 2024, it will travel worldwide. In cooperation with LGT Bank, the painting will be presented at various locations internationally; planned stops include Switzerland, Germany, Great Britain, and Hong Kong.

Image shows the auction in Vienna, Austria, on Wednesday, Apr. 24, 2024. Gustav Klimt’s “Portrait of Fraeulein Lieser” fetched nearly GBP 26 million. (Auktionshaus im Kinsky GmbH, Wien/Newsflash)

“After the painting returns to Vienna, it will be auctioned on April 24, 2024, on behalf of the current owners (Austrian private citizens) along with the legal successors of Adolf and Henriette Lieser based on an agreement in accordance with the Washington Principles of 1998.

“im Kinsky, Austria’s second-largest auction house, has established a reputation for outstanding expertise in Austrian Modernism over the more than thirty years since its founding.”


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