Klimt Painting Sells for Record $108M

    Klimt Painting Sells for Record $108M
    Photo: Wikimedia Commons

    The Facts

    • On Tuesday, Gustav Klimt's painting titled Dame mit Fächer (Lady with a Fan) became the most valuable work of art to ever be sold at a European auction, fetching $108M (£85.3M) at Sotheby's in London.

    • Listed with a presale estimate of $80M, the portrait depicting an unidentified woman behind a China-influenced backdrop of dragons and lotuses beat the previous record of $104.3M for Alberto Giacometti's Walking Man I at Sotheby's in 2010.


    The Spin

    Narrative A

    The auction of Klimt's portrait for a record fee is of little surprise. The piece made headlines when announced earlier this month and has received much fanfare. As stated by Sotheby's Helena Newman herself, the attention paid by the art world's Asian mark and consequent final price of the painting is without shock due to the work's Chinese and Japanese motifs.

    Narrative B

    Whilst May's slow auctioneering in New York led to many believing that we were witnessing a market correction, London's auctions may suggest some positives in the market. Exceeding pre-sale low estimates over Sotheby's two-day lot, the sale of Klimt amongst others for record prices is a sign of life in the art world that many did not expect.


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