Gustav Klimt’s Bauerngarten (1907) achieved £48m ($59.3m) in a sale of impressionist and modern art in London last night.
The piece is one of a series of remarkable landscapes Klimt painted in Austria’s Salzkammergut region, where he spent his summers.
Klimt's Bauerngarten dates to his Golden Era (1899-1910)
Several factors propelled it beyond its £45m high estimate.
It’s one of the largest works by Klimt (1862-1918) ever to come to auction and it also dates to his Golden Era, the time when he painted many of his most celebrated works – including The Kiss (1907-1908).
Demand for Klimt’s work has skyrocketed in recent years. One Russian buyer paid chat show host Oprah Winfrey a reported $150m for Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer II last year.
As Helena Newman, co-head of Sotheby’s impressionist and modern art department, told the Guardian: “Most of the artist’s oil paintings of this calibre are in major museums around the world with only a handful of works of this importance having appeared at auction in the last decade.”
Bauerngarten is a perfect illustration of the strength of the market, considering it last sold for £3.7m ($5.8m) at Christie’s in 1994.
That equates to growth of 11.7% per annum.
In all the sale brought in £194.7m ($242.2m).
That’s a strong rebuttal to those suggesting there has been a slowdown in the growth of the art market and could convince those sitting on high value pieces that now is the time to sell.
Newman said: “Tonight’s outstanding result is a new benchmark for London sales as much as it is a statement on the momentum of the global art market in 2017.
“The success of tonight’s sale lies in reading the market to know what buyers are looking for…
“This, combined with the pent up market demand for works of such extraordinary calibre, propelled global buying in our saleroom – particularly from Asia.”
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