Sotheby's to sell one of Gustav Klimt's "greatest masterpieces"
One of Gustav Klimt's "greatest masterpieces" will be offered for the first time in a generation at Sotheby's next month.
Dating from 1908, Bauerngarten is a colourful landscape filled with blooming spring flowers, and one of around just 50 landscape paintings Klimt produced during his career.
"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, Chairman of Sotheby’s Europe.
"Gustav Klimt is one of the most desirable artists today and his iconic masterpieces are revered and recognised the world over. Innovative in its composition and jewel-like in its exquisite blaze of colours, it is one of the artist’s greatest masterpieces ever to come to auction."
The painting made its public debut in 1908, at the Kunstschau in Vienna. The exhibition was Klimt's first for three years, and cemented his reputation as one of Europe's most important modern artists.
Bauerngarten found instant acclaim, with critic Josef August Lux stating: "The flower meadows are even more beautiful since Klimt has painted them; the artist gives us an eye with which to see the radiant glory of their colours."
Almost all of Klimt's major oil paintings now reside in museums and institutions around the world, with just a few remaining in private hands.
In 1910 Bauerngarten was acquired by the National Gallery in Prague, and it remained it the collection until 1968 when it was exchanged for another work.
It was then bought by a private Swiss collector in the 1970s, and last changed hands in 1994, when it was acquired by the current owner at a Christie's sale in London for $5.8 million.
Offered publically for the first time since, Bauerngarten is now expected to sell for more than $45 million.
Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale takes place in London on March 1.
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