$59 Million Klimt Painting Tops Record-Setting Auction in London

Gustav Klimt, Flower Garden
Gustav Klimt, Flower Garden

Sotheby’s 54-lot sale of Impressionist, Modern, and Surrealist art Wednesday night brought a total £195 million ($241 million), the highest total for any single auction in London. The pre-sale estimated value for the sale was £150/180 million. 

Topping the night, Gustav Klimt's rare landscape titled Flower Garden became the third most expensive artwork ever sold at auction in Europe. Bidders from Asia were defeated by Sotheby's representative Andrea Jungmann from its Vienna office. She won the work for a client at £48 million ($59.3 million). Previously, the Klimt sold in 1994 in London for £3.7 million and Sotheby's had purchased the piece wholly or partly from the owner.

The sale total was boosted by eight of the sale's top lots which were guaranteed by Sotheby's or a third party's irrevocable bid. These lots combined to bring about half the total sale estimate.

Just 6 lots, 11 percent, went unsold. A Salvador Dali work with an estimate of £6 million was withdrawn just prior to the sale.

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Gustav Klimt, "The Arts, Paradise Choir, and The Embrace (detail of Beethoven Frieze)," 1902.  Casein paint, chalk, graphite, applied plaster, and various appliqué materials, 84.7 x 189.4 in.  (215 x 481 cm).  Oesterreichische Galerie im Belvedere, Vienna, Austria © Belvedere, Vienna

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