Sotheby’s to Auction Rare Gustav Klimt Painting With Newly Resolved Provenance

Gustav Klimt, Gertrud Loew (detail).
Photo: Sotheby's.

A Gustav Klimt painting with a past as delicate as the handling of its oil paint has had its provenance settled, and will be auctioned off at Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale on June 24 in New York, the New York Times reports.

The portrait is estimated to fetch $18 million–25 million after a much-reported restitution battle.

Klimt painted Portrait of Gertrud Loew in 1902 for the subject’s father, Dr. Anton Loew. In 1939, Gertrud, then the widow of Elemer Baruch von Felsöványi, fled Vienna for the United States and the painting found itself in the hands of Klimt’s son Gustav Ucicky, who died in 1961. His wife Ursula started the Klimt Foundation in 2013, and vowed to resolve the provenance of the collection of her late husband.

“While the particulars surrounding the sale of the Klimt portrait Portrait of Gertrud Loew can no longer be reconstructed, the independent provenance researchers’ report suggests that the painting was purchased by Gustav Ucicky in Austria during the Nazi era,” concluded the team of legal experts investigating the portrait last year.

Gustav Klimt Portrait of Gertha Loew (1902). Courtesy of the Neue Galerie./the Lewis Collection

“It can be positively excluded that the painting was restituted to Gertrud Felsöványi or her legal heirs following the end of the Nazi regime,” the report stated..

The portrait was returned to the Felsöványis, along with five drawings that also originally belonged to the family. Both the heirs and the Klimt Foundation have agreed to auction the painting and share the profits.

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