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The Arts Intel Report

A Cultural Compass
For the World Traveler
A Cultural Compass
For the World Traveler

The Gustav Klimt Sale

Gustav Klimt, Portrait of Fräulein Lieser, 1917.

April 24, 2024
Freyung 4, 1010 Wien, Austria

Considered lost for nearly a century, Gustav Klimt’s Portrait of Fräulein Lieser resurfaced last January. Ernst Ploil, co-C.E.O. of the im Kinsky auction house, first saw the painting in a private home, hanging on the wall among unimportant works (the seller’s identity has not been made public). “There was no insurance, no bars on the window,” Ploil has said. “It was just hanging there beside drawings and other things not worth €1,000.” Created for the Jewish Lieser family months before Klimt’s death, in 1917, and left unsigned, the only evidence of the portrait’s existence was a black-and-white photograph taken for a 1925 exhibition. Today, Portrait of Fräulein Lieser was sold in Vienna for 32 million dollars. Its mysterious story and provenance surely received as much attention as the hammer price. The painting may even become the subject of a novel one day. —Jeanne Malle

Photo: © Im Kinsky Auction House

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