(London) A masterpiece by Austrian artist Gustav Klimt could become the most expensive painting ever sold in Europe when it goes to auction later this month.
Auction house Sotheby’s announced on Wednesday that The Lady with a Fan (Dame mit Fächer) will go on sale June 27 in London, with an estimated price of 65 million pounds (about 110 million CAN).
The last portrait painted by Klimt before his death in 1918, the painting shows an unidentified woman against a resplendent background of dragons and lotus flowers, inspired by China.
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, and a heartfelt ode to absolute beauty.”
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 millionUS (117 millionCAN), and his landscape Birch Forest sold at Sotheby’s last year for 104.6 millionUS (139 million CAN).
Two other of his portraits are said to have sold privately for over US$100 million.
The most expensive works of art sold at auction in Europe, in dollars, are the sculpture L’homme qui marche I, by Alberto Giacometti, sold for 104.3 millionUS (139 millionCAN) at Sotheby’s in 2010 and the painting by Claude Monet’s The Water Lilies, which fetched US$80.4 million (CAN107 million) at a sale at Christie’s in 2008.
The world auction record for a work of art goes to Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi, which sold for US$450.3 million (CAN599 million) in 2017 – although some experts wonder if the work was entirely made by the Renaissance master.