Obscure Gustav Klimt Masterpiece Will Lead Sotheby’s London Auction

With an estimate in excess of $45 million, ‘Bauerngarten’ hasn’t gone under the hammer in over two decades.

Gustav Klimt, Bauerngarten (1907). Courtesy Sotheby’s.

Sotheby’s London will lead its Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale on March 1 with a 1907 landscape painting by the Viennese modernist Gustav Klimt. Bauerngarten, which has an estimate in excess of $45 million, hasn’t hit the auction block in over two decades.

“Gustav Klimt is one of the most desirable artists today and his iconic masterpieces are revered and recognized the world over. The star of this season’s offering is undoubtedly Klimt’s luminous Bauerngarten, dating from the artist’s celebrated and much-loved golden period and from the same year as his famous golden Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I,” said Helena Newman, Global Co-Head of Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Department and Chairman of Sotheby’s Europe.

“Innovative in its composition and jewel-like in its exquisite blaze of colors, it is one of the artist’s greatest masterpieces ever to come to auction. Most of the artist’s oil paintings of this caliber are in major museums around the world with only a handful works of this importance having appeared at auction in the last decade,” she continued.

Bauerngarten—defined by the auction house as one of Klimt’s best landscapes and one of the finest works by him ever to appear at auction—was first exhibited in the famous 1908 “Kunstschau” exhibition in Vienna. This was a key outing for Klimt, who had not exhibited publicly in three years.

Two years later, his colorful depiction of poppies, daisies, and roses—which can almost been seen as a forming an opulent flower cloak over an invisible figure—was bought by the National Gallery in Prague.

Yet, despite not featuring human figures in it, Bauerngarten is inspired by events and people in the life of the Austrian painter.

Each summer, Klimt would holiday in the Austrian Lake Attersee with family and friends, including his partner, the fashion designer Emilie Flöge, who created some of the sumptuous dresses than can been in his portraits.

There, in the garden of a local farm, Klimt found the scene that inspired Bauerngarten.

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