Famous Artist’s Masterpiece Sets Record After Selling At Auction

Austrian artist Gustav Klimt’s Dame mit Fächer (Lady with a Fan) on display ahead of the Sotheby's summer sales of Modern & Contemporary Art, where it would become the most valuable European artwork sold at $108.4 million on June 27, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by John Phillips/Getty Images for Sotheby's)

John Oyewale Contributor
Font Size:

A masterpiece by twentieth-century Austrian painter Gustav Klimt sold Tuesday for $108.4 million at an auction at Sotheby’s in London, UK, becoming the most valuable artwork in Europe, according to The Associated Press (AP).

Klimt’s “Dame mit Fächer” (Lady with a Fan), the portrait of an unnamed lady, was sold following a 10-minute bidding war to a buyer for a hammer price of $94.35 million, with the buyer’s premium of $14.05 million added to make up the final figure, The AP reported. The painting exceeded its expected price of $80 million and beat previous European record holder Alberto Giacometti’s sculpture “Walking Man I” which sold at Sotheby’s for $104.3 million in 2010, per the report. (RELATED: Museum Officials Discover ‘Preparatory Sketch’ Behind Rembrandt’s ‘The Night Watch’ Painting)

Lady with a Fan was the last portrait Klimt painted and was still standing on his easel at the time of his untimely death in 1918, according to a press release by Sotheby’s. He painted it while he was in his prime as one of the most celebrated portraitists in Europe. The portrait, “full of freedom and spontaneity,” is “a technical tour de force, full of boundary-pushing experimentation, as well as a heartfelt ode to absolute beauty,” the release read.

The most valuable artwork ever sold is “Salvator Mundi,” a painting of Jesus Christ of disputed provenance but attributed by many to Leonardo da Vinci. It sold for $450.3 million in 2017, according to The AP. U.S. intelligence officials revealed that the anonymous buyer at the November 15  auction at Christie’s in New York was Saudi Arabia‘s crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, according to NPR. He bought the painting only two weeks after launching an anti-corruption campaign targeting 200 Saudi businessmen, ministers, and princes, NPR reported.