A portray by the Austrian artist Gustav Klimt that was thought-about misplaced for 100 years has offered for €30m (£26m) at an public sale in Vienna.

Entitled Portrait of Fräulein Lieser, the unfinished image was painted within the spring of 1917, when Klimt was one of the vital celebrated portraitists in Europe, and a yr earlier than his loss of life.

Till the Viennese public sale home im Kinsky introduced at a press convention in January that the portrait had been re-discovered in a personal assortment, solely a black-and-white {photograph} of the portray was identified.

The art work’s sudden re-emergence, coupled with an intriguing backstory, constructed up appreciable buzz across the portray.

Within the run-up to Wednesday afternoon’s sale, about 15,000 guests had taken the chance to see the work displayed at im Kinsky.

The sum the portray fetched was on the backside of its €30m to €50m valuation, and a way off the £74m that one other late-period Klimt portrait, Dame mit Fächer (Girl with a Fan), fetched in London final June – a file for any art work ever offered at an public sale in Europe.

Some key questions concerning the portray stay unanswered, together with the identification of its topic and its provenance through the Nazi period.

A commissioned portrait, it’s believed to depict one of many daughters of both Adolf or Justus Lieser, who have been brothers from a rich household of Jewish industrialists. Some artwork historians have recognized the sitter as Margarethe Constance Lieser, Adolf Lieser’s daughter.

Nonetheless, im Kinsky has advised the portray may additionally depict one of many two daughters of Justus Lieser and his spouse, Henriette, a patron of recent artwork. An AI-based “ageing” of the portrait reveals up obvious similarities to Helene Lieser, an economist who died in 1962, the public sale home has claimed.

The identification of the sitter is essential: after Klimt’s loss of life in 1918 the portray ended up with the Lieser household, although which department of the dynasty may rightfully declare possession of the image has been arduous to ascertain. Artwork historians have struggled to piece collectively the portray’s journey between 1925 and 1961.

The public sale home stated the portray’s journey through the Nazi interval was “unclear”.

It stated: “What is understood is that it was acquired by a authorized predecessor of the consignor within the Sixties and went to the present proprietor by means of three successive inheritances.”

The identification of the final Austrian homeowners earlier than Wednesday’s sale has not been made public.


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