Discovered Gustav Klimt painting set for $13m Sotheby's auction

A forgotten work by Austrian painter Gustav Klimt is set to make a triumphant return to the art world's consciousness after more than 100 years in private hands.

Lakeshore with Birches, a 1901 landscape work of Lake Attersee in Austria, was last seen at an exhibition in Germany in 1902, when it was bought by collectors Richard and Klara Koenigs-Bunge.

Scholars had been unaware of the square-canvas painting until descendants of the owners sought its authentication earlier this year.

Discovered work of Gustav Klimt
Klimt's discovered work could make £8m in February

Alfred Weidinger, the vice director of the Österreichische Galerie Belvedere in Vienna, and author of Klimt's catalogue raisonné, has said that "its discovery is a sensation".

The announcement follows last week's $40.4m sale of another Klimt work of his beloved lake, Litzlberg am Attersee, at Sotheby's New York.

Klimt visited the lake every year between 1899 and his death in 1918.

Sotheby's is putting the rediscovered work up for auction on February 8, although it is not expected to achieve the same heights as the piece sold last week. It has been given an estimate of £6m to £8m.

Chairman of Sotheby's impressionist and modern art department, Helena Newman, commented: "We are absolutely delighted to offer a further exquisite work by the artist which not only appears for the first time at auction, but represents a discovery of great significance in the artist's oeuvre."

While not everyone can afford to spend £8m on a Klimt, there are opportunities to purchase memorabilia associated with the great painters for more modest prices.

We recently sold a letter by Paul Cezanne and are currently offering a similar piece of correspondence by the great Claude Monet.

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