Lost and Found: Klimt’s rediscovered masterpiece in Vienna


Imagine a painting missing for nearly 100 years suddenly resurfacing and being put up for sale for 49 million euros. Well, that just happened. The “Portrait of Fräulein Lieser,” painted by Gustav Klimt, was rediscovered in the private possession of an Austrian citizen and will be auctioned on April 24th in Vienna. It is considered one of the “most beautiful works from the author’s last creative period,” who was a key artist of the Viennese Art Nouveau — a modernist movement of the time, originating precisely in the capital of Austria.

The painting belonged to a Jewish family and was last seen in 1925. “It had an unknown fate since then, but the Austrian family of the current owners has had the painting since the 1960s,” revealed the Viennese auction house Im Kinsky, responsible for the event.

The estimated selling price is 54 million dollars (about 49.68 million euros). Before the sale, the painting will tour several countries, such as Switzerland, Germany, Great Britain, and Hong Kong. Upon returning to the home country, it will be auctioned “on behalf of the current owners, along with the legal successors of Adolf and Henriette Lieser, based on an agreement in accordance with the 1998 Washington Principles” — which aims to return the assets to the descendants of those plundered during the Nazi period.

This is one of the artist’s last creations, and “for decades a painting of such rarity, artistic significance, and value has not been available in the Central European art market,” stated the auction company.

Last year in London, a Klimt portrait was sold for 85.3 million pounds (98.7 million euros). At the time, it was a record for a work of art auctioned in Europe.

The painting had not been seen since 1925.

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