Gustav Klimt’s Bauerngarten sold for £47.9 million at Sotheby’s in London tonight. The third highest price for any work of art ever sold at auction in Europe was achieved at a sale which scored the highest total of £195 million for any auction ever staged in London. At the Impressionist, Modern and Surrealist art evening sales five lots sold for over £10 million.
The Klimt was a record for a landscape by the artist. Four bidders competed for the luminous flower garden. Bauerngarten was painted in 1907 during the golden period of Klimt’s career.
It was a highlight of the critically acclaimed ‘Painting the Modern Garden’ exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts in London last year and at at auction for the first time in over two decades.
Picasso’s Plante de Tomates, painted just days before the liberation of Paris in 1944, sold for £17 million. This is a record for a still life by the artist. The total achieved for eight works by Picasso over the course of the evening was £54.7 million. Two other works by Picasso exceeded £10 million – Femme nu assise (£13.6 million) and Femme assise dans un fauteuil sur fond blanc (£12 million). Modigliani’s Portrait of Baranowski made £16 million and a Tahiti painting by Gauguin sold for £8.3 million.
Helena Newman, Global Co-Head of Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Department & Chairman of Sotheby’s Europe, said:
“Tonight’s outstanding result is a new benchmark for London sales as much as it is a statement on the momentum of the global art market in 2017. The success of tonight’s sale lies in reading the market to know what buyers are looking for, and Sotheby’s having been entrusted by our clients with extraordinary works. This, combined with the pent up market demand for works of such extraordinary calibre, propelled global buying in our saleroom – particularly from Asia – and it was wonderful to experience on the rostrum.”