Feb 14, 2017

Klimt Painting Expected to Break Records at Sotheby’s Auction

Landscape masterpiece expected to achieve record results in ‘historic sale’
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Sotheby’s has announced that it will offer a masterpiece from Gustav Klimt’s golden period during its Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale on March 1 in London. “Bauerngarten (Blumengarten)” is expected to fetch in excess of £45 million and set a new record for a Klimt landscape painting, as more and more collectors seem willing to pay a premium for his summery landscapes.

Helena Newman, Global Co-Head of Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Department & Chairman of Sotheby’s Europe, explains the increasing level of interest in this side of Klimt’s work:

“Alongside Klimt’s portraits, his landscapes are a dazzling treatment of nature, imbued with his own aesthetic which is in tune with his golden period portraits such as The Kiss.”

Painted in 1907, in a style that combines both Impressionism and Pointilism, the painting caused a sensation when it was first exhibited at the Kunstchau in Vienna in 1908.

In his review of the exhibition at the time, the author Josef August Lux wrote:

“The flower meadows are even more beautiful since Klimt has painted them; the artist gives us an eye with which to see the radiant glory of their colours. We never learn to seize nature in her magical beauty other than through art, which always renews her appearance.”

Klimt is one of only ten artists whose works have fetched over $100 million at auction, the others being Gauguin, Cezanne, Rothko, Picasso, Modigliani, Bacon, Giacometti, Pollock and De Kooning.

According to Bloomberg “Portrait of Adel Bloch-Bauer II,” bought by entertainment mogul Oprah Winfrey in 2006 for $87.9 million, was resold last year for $150 million.

The record for a Klimt landscape to date is $43 million for “Church in Cassone—Landscape with Cypresses,” sold by Sotheby’s 7 years ago.

“Bauerngarten” itself was last sold at auction for just under $6 million by Christie’s in London in 1994.

Helena Newman feels that this is a potentially historic sale:

“Most of the artist’s oil paintings of this calibre are in major museums around the world with only a handful of works of this importance having appeared at auction in the last decade. Innovative in its composition and jewel-like in its exquisite blaze of colours, it is one of the artist’s greatest masterpieces ever to come to auction.”