Gustav Klimt's Bildnis Gertrud Loew to sell on June 24

Gustav Klimt's Portrait of Bildnis Gertrud Loew (1902) is to cross the block at Sotheby's London on June 24.

The lot is among the highlights of the June 24 impressionist and modern art evening auction, with a valuation of £12m-18m ($18.5m-27.7m).

Klimt Getrud Sothebys
Klimt's Portrait of Bildnis Getrud Loew was stolen by the Nazis

The work was the property of the sitter's family, but was stolen by the Nazis during the occupation of Vienna during the second world war.

It has since been returned to the family, who are consigning it in the auction. Gertrud's granddaughter explained: "This portrait portrays the brave and determined nature of my grandmother.

"Her strength of character and beauty lives on in this visual embodiment."

Helena Newman, Sotheby's co-head of impressionist and modern art, commented: "Gustav Klimt's exquisite and ingenious representations of women have led to him become the most celebrated painter of the female portrait of the early 20th Century.

"Bildnis Gertrud Loew, from a crucial period in the artist's career, is one his finest portraits to appear at auction in over twenty years."

The record for a painting by Gustav Klimt stands at $135m, set for his Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I in a private sale in 2006.

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