Gustav Klimt's Vienna Secession poster up 242% at Christie's

Gustav Klimt's poster for the first secessionist exhibition in Vienna, a renowned work in art history, has sold with spectacular results at Christie's Graphic Masterworks: A Century of Design auction, held on October 2 in London.

Gustav Klimt Vienna Secession poster
Klimt, as president of the Vienna Secession group, created this for the first exhibition

The poster, created by Klimt as the first president of the radical group in 1897, sold for £68,500 ($110,765), making an impressive 242.4% increase on its £15,000-20,000 high estimate.

The Vienna Secession was formed by a group of Austrian artists, each of whom had separated themselves from the Association of Austrian Artists in protest of its conservatism. Similar movements in Berlin and Munich had spurred the group.

The poster is a wonderful reflection of the group's ideologies, depicting Ovid's Theseus and the Minotaur, which represents the artists' battle with, and perceived triumph over, the artistic establishment. Pallas Athena, Greek god of wisdom, frames the work, displaying Klimt's love of Classical Greek and Byzantine styles.

The poster was printed in two sizes, with this being the smaller example. A second printing, no other copies of this exact style are known to exist.

Also selling well was the Stenberg Brother's poster for The General, a 1926 film starring Buster Keaton, which met its high estimate at £50,000.

The piece, printed in 1929, is the second version produced, and is an improved copy of the example made before the brothers had actually seen the film. A rare Russian example, it was graded B/B+ for condition.

Paul Fraser Collectibles has some outstanding rare posters for sale.

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