$40.4 Million Klimt, Museum's Monet Boost Sotheby's Auction

  • "Litzlberg am Attersee" (1915) by Gustav Klimt sold for $40.4 million at Sotheby's on Nov.  2, 2011.

    "Litzlberg am Attersee" (1915) by Gustav Klimt sold for $40.4 million at Sotheby's on Nov. 2, 2011.

    Sotheby's

A Gustav Klimt landscape painting that was stolen by the Nazis from its Jewish owner brought $40.4 million at Sotheby’s near-$200 million Impressionist and modern art sale in New York on Wednesday evening.

The Museum of Modern Art in Salzburg, Austria, recently returned the work to retired Montreal camera shop owner Georges Jorisch, the grandnephew of Amalie Redlich, an Austrian Jewish woman who owned “Litzlberg am Attersee” (1915) until the Gestapo sold her art collection. She disappeared after being deported to Poland.

The buyer was Zurich dealer David Lachenmann who was bidding on behalf of a client, according to Bloomberg.

The sale totaled $199.8 million, in the middle of estimates, with just 13 of 70 lots failing to sell, a performance far better than competitor Christie's sale on Tuesday which brought $140.7 million, with 31 of 82 works going unsold.

Selective buyers responded to fresh material and reasonable estimates.

Among the notable results was Tamara de Lempicka's sensuous portrait "La Reve (Rafaela Sur Fond Vert,' painted in 1927, which reached $8.4 million, over its high estimate of $7 million.

Seven out of 8 offered works by Max Ernst sold, including his exurberant World War II-period painting "Convolvulvus! Convolvulvs!" which brought $3.4 million. The artist achieved a record price the night before at Christie's for "The Stolen Mirror," which quadrupled its low estimate to bring $16.3 million.

A Claude Monet, "Antibes, Le Fort," of 1888, consigned by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, for its acquistion fund, fetched $9.2 million, well above its $5-7 million estimate.

From a private collection, an Edgar Degas bronze horse sculpture earned $2.2 million, over a $1.2 million high estimate.

Gustave Caillebotte's "Le Pont D'Argenteuil et la Seine," a vibrant river scene by the Impressionist, doubled its low estimate to bring $18 million.

A suite of Matisse bronzes "Les Nus de Dos (The Backs)", estimated at $20 million to $30 million, were sold privately prior to the auction by consignor The Burnett Foundation. Sotheby's brokered the sale for an unspecified amount.

(Prices realized include commissions.)

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