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“Lady with a Fan” by Gustav Klimt sold for over PLN 440 million

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One of the last paintings by Austrian painter Gustav Klimt has sold for £85.3 million (PLN 440.4 million) at Sotheby’s auction house in London. No other work of art has fetched such a high price at auction in Europe.

Prior to the auction, experts valued The Lady with the Fan at around £65m. The final amount turned out to be much higher. After a 10-minute bidding process involving four bidders, the painting was purchased by experienced art dealer Patti Wong, who represented a mysterious Hong Kong collector.

So far, the most expensive work of art sold at auction in Europe was a bronze sculpture by Swiss artist Alberto Giacometti, “Walking Man I”, from 1961. In 2010, the work went under the hammer for £65 million. It was then that the transaction took place at the Sotheby’s auction house in London. The sculpture was probably bought by millionaire Lily Safra, widow of Lebanese banker Edmond J. Safra.

One of two such images

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According to Sotheby’s, “Lady with a Fan” was one of two paintings in Klimt’s Viennese studio at the time of his death – in February 1918. The artist did not paint it to order and the identity of the woman depicted in it is unknown (she was probably a dancer).

In this case, Klimt clearly experimented with style, which is evident in the expressive brushstrokes and the freer approach to background patterns. In turn, the robe the model is wearing, the fan she is holding and motifs in the background, such as a phoenix in flight, a crane, a golden pheasant and lotus flowers, reflect Klimt’s growing interest in East Asian culture and art of that time.

Main photo source: Sotheby’s

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