Art enthusiasts around the world received exciting news this year with the announcement that one of Gustav Klimt’s most famous “lost” works has resurfaced after over a century.

Im Kinsky, the venerable Vienna-based auction house known for setting world records with iconic Austrian works, will offer the long-hidden painting at their highly anticipated April 2024 auction. Styled Portrait of Fräulein Lieser, the exquisitely crafted portrait captures the final flowering of Klimt’s Golden Period just before his untimely death.

As the preeminent artist of Vienna Secessionism at the turn of the 20th century, Klimt achieved international acclaim for his emotionally charged depictions of femininity and luxury that pushed boundaries in erotic symbolism.

Among his most celebrated works are the alluring and mystifying portraits of distinguished Viennese women from the bourgeoisie and aristocracy.

These are sought after trophies for major private and public collections worldwide, appearing only rarely at auction in keeping with their status as national treasures. After over a century outside of public view, Klimt experts and art patrons worldwide eagerly await observing this masterwork’s restoration and the insights it offers into the artist’s late oeuvre.

Reports identify the sitter as a Miss Lieser, from the affluent Lieser dynasty prominent in Austro-Hungarian industrial circles. Brothers Adolf and Julius Lieser counted among the technology sector’s leading pioneers, while Lieser’s wife supported avant-garde initiatives. Art historians speculate she commissioned Klimt to commemorate one of her daughters, who visited his studio throughout April and May 1917 for multiple sittings.

Left unfinished at the time of Klimt’s sudden passing in early 1918, the work’s whereabouts remained unknown for decades as it passed between generations of the patron family. However, new analysis of the painting’s vivacious color and open brushwork confirms it dates from Klimt’s most celebrated late period — a testament to the maestro working at the height of his artistic powers.

While the face receives Klimt’s characteristically realistic treatment, ribbons of lush pigment swirl vibrantly across the backdrop and shoulders like liquid gold, hinting at mystical depths within.

After being privately held and seen only through a monochrome archival photo from 1925, its reemergence offers a unique chance to study Klimt’s subtle innovations at the end of his career. When presented at auction, art connoisseurs and institutions will undoubtedly vie fiercely to acquire this superb addition to Klimt’s diminished oeuvre.

In bringing this rediscovered treasure back to the spotlight and facilitating its accessibility to new eyes after over a century, Im Kinsky ensures Klimt’s enduring legacy shines as brilliantly as when first unveiled over a century ago. A monumental find for the art world, the Portrait of Fräulein Lieser‘s reappearance is destined to spark global fascination.


Sources

Im Kinsky Auction House


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