Lost Klimt Portrait Unveiled In Prague

Gustav Klimt, Lady with a Muff (1926)

Gustav Klimt‘s Lady with a Muff (1916–17) was last displayed in Vienna in 1926, and has long been considered lost. Unbeknown to scholars, it has remained part of a private Czech collection since the 1930s. According to ArtDaily, the anonymous owner of the collection recently came forward and agreed to loan the painting to the National Gallery in Prague, where it was unveiled on June 27. It sits alongside two other well-known Klimt works, Water Castle (1908) and The Virgin (1914).

The painting depicts a pale but coquettish lady obscuring part of her face with a large black muff. The woman wears a dreamy expression, and is depicted against a brightly colored, swirling background with several abstracted faces peering at her from behind. The striking reds, pinks, and greens that make up the background are said to be inspired by Asian art, of which Klimt was a growing collector at the time.

“The NG has achieved something that can be called an art history dream,” Helena Musilová, director of the National Gallery’s modern and contemporary art collection, told the Prague Post. “We are often addressed by the people claiming that they have certainly an original painting, but this is often not proven,” she said. She added that it is extremely rare that a work thought to be lost resurfaces after so many decades. The piece is on loan to the museum indefinitely.


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