Klimt’s Last Great Portrait Sets New Auction Record
By Mariko Finch (via Sothbys.com)
Ahead of the evening’s star lot going under the hammer and setting a new European record for an artwork, the London summer sales opened with The Now Evening Auction, offering both established collectors and new audiences the opportunity to secure works by the art stars of the present and future.
Among them, Adrian Ghenie, Mark Bradford and Caroline Walker, whose evocative and serene “Red Sky Morning” found a new buyer at £457,200. Addressing the outstanding demand for young and emerging artists from the figurative to the abstract, the sale saw auction records for Arthur Jafa and Michel Majerus, in an auction that goes from strength to strength.
Following the Now sale, The Modern and Contemporary Evening Auction opened to a crowded sale room, abuzz with anticipation and assembled under the watchful eye of Gustav Klimt’s “Dame mit Fächer (Lady with a Fan).” Appearing on the market for the first time in thirty years, the atmosphere reflected the rarity of the occasion.
Found on the easel in his studio at the time of his death, the captivating depiction of a nude figure reveals Klimt exploring a new approach to colour and form, resulting in a masterpiece by an artist at the height of his powers. After a ten-minute bidding battle between four clients on the phones and in the room, the painting soared to £85.3 million, setting a new auction record for a work of art in Europe, and also for Gustav Klimt. The result is also the second-highest price for any portrait ever sold at auction.