A late masterpiece by Austrian artist Gustav Klimt could become the most expensive painting ever sold in Europe when it goes up for auction later this month.
Auctioneer Sotheby’s said Wednesday that “Dame mit Fächer” – Lady with a Fan – will go on sale June 27 in London, with an estimated price of 65 million pounds ($80 million).
The last portrait made by Klimt before his death in 1918, the painting shows an unidentified woman against a resplendent background of dragons and lotus flowers influenced by China.
It was last sold in 1994, for $11.6 million at an auction in New York.
Helena Newman, Head of Impressionist and Modern Art at Sotheby’s, said the portrait was “a technical tour de force, full of boundary-pushing experimentation, as well as a heartfelt ode to absolute beauty”.
Famous for his bold and bold Art Nouveau paintings, Klimt was a key figure in artistic modernism in the early 20th century. His work has achieved some of the highest prices of any artist. Klimt’s “Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer II” sold at auction in 2006 for $87.9 million, and his “Birch Forest” landscape sold at Sotheby’s last year for $104.6 millions of dollars.
Two other of his portraits have reportedly sold privately for more than $100 million.
The most expensive works of art sold at auction in Europe, in dollars, are the sculpture “Walking Man I” by Alberto Giacometti, sold for 104.3 million dollars at Sotheby’s in 2010, and the painting “Le bassin aux nymphéas ” by Claude Monet, sold for $80.4 million at a sale at Christie’s. In 2008.
The world auction record for a work of art is $450.3 million paid in 2017 for Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Salvator Mundi’ – although some experts question whether the panting of Jesus Christ is entirely the masterpiece of the Renaissance master.