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Art & Culture

Gustav Klimt’s Lost Portrait Found After Nearly 100 Years

  • Marilyn Walters
  • |
  • February 12, 2024
  • |
  • 3 minute read
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Gustav Klimt’s Lost Portrait Found After Nearly 100 Years

The sensational rediscovery of Gustav Klimt’s “Portrait of Fraulein Lieser” has been missing for nearly a century. Dive into the story of its journey, value, and upcoming art auction.

Key Takeaways
  • "Portrait of Fraulein Lieser" by Gustav Klimt, missing since 1925, has been rediscovered in Vienna.
  • The painting, valued at over $54 million, highlights Klimt's work's historical and artistic significance.
  • Scheduled for auction on April 24, the artwork's return follows ethical considerations under the Washington Principles.

The Rediscovery of a Century

Nearly a century after vanishing from the public eye, a masterpiece by the renowned Austrian artist Gustav Klimt, titled “Portrait of Fraulein Lieser,” has been found. This significant piece of art was last witnessed by the public in 1925 and was believed to have been lost forever​​​.

The Portrait’s Journey

Originally commissioned by a wealthy Jewish family, the portrait was a testament to Klimt’s artistic brilliance in 1917, shortly before his death. Over the decades, its whereabouts remained a mystery until the family of the current owners, who have had the painting since the 1960s, brought it to light. The discovery has been hailed as “a sensation” by the art world, given the rarity, artistic significance, and value of the painting​​​.

A Valuable Legacy

The im Kinsky auction house in Vienna, responsible for bringing this artwork back to public attention, estimates its value at more than $54 million. This appraisal underscores not only the financial but also the historical and artistic worth of the painting. It’s scheduled for auction on April 24, a process overseen by the auction house to ensure ethical considerations and rightful ownership are thoroughly addressed, following the Washington Principles. This international agreement aims to return Nazi-looted art to the descendants of the original owners​.

Not Just an Art Piece but a Historical Artifact

The portrait’s reappearance is not just a win for the art community but also a poignant reminder of the tumultuous history that many artworks from this era have endured. With no evidence found that the work had been looted or stolen during World War II, the auction house has taken proactive steps in researching and contacting potential restitution claimants, reflecting a commitment to ethical stewardship of historical artifacts​.

Klimt in the Art Market

Gustav Klimt’s works have historically fetched enormous sums at auctions, with “Lady with a Fan” selling for £85.3 million in June, setting a record for the most valuable work of art ever sold at auction in Europe. This upcoming auction highlights Klimt’s enduring legacy and the intricate web of history, ownership, and art recovery surrounding many of his pieces​.

An International Tour Before the Auction

Before reaching the auction block, “Portrait of Fraulein Lieser” will be showcased in various international locations, including the UK, Switzerland, Germany, and Hong Kong. This tour amplifies the painting’s visibility and underscores the global significance of Klimt’s work and the extraordinary story of this painting’s journey back into the public domain after nearly a century in obscurity​​.

The resurfacing of “Portrait of Fraulein Lieser” by Gustav Klimt is a remarkable event in the art world, bringing to light not just a lost work of art but also the intricate narratives of history, culture, and ethics that are interwoven with the legacy of art pieces. As this painting prepares for its next chapter, it is a testament to the enduring value and mystery that great artworks carry through the ages.

 

Marilyn Walters

Marilyn Walters

Marilyn Walters is a seasoned news journalist with over two years of experience in the field. Known for her investigative reporting and insightful analysis, Marilyn has covered significant global events with an objective lens. Her relentless pursuit of truth and dedication to journalistic integrity have established her as a respected voice in today's dynamic news landscape.

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