Gustav Klimt Painting Sold for $40 Million
Friday, 04 November 2011

The painting, Litzlberg am Attersee (Litzlberg on the Attersee), easily topped its pre-sale high estimate of $US25 million at the impressionist and modern sale.

Depicting a pastoral scene of towering, wooded hills rising from water into a bright sky, the landscape was stolen after the German annexation of Austria in 1938.

It was only returned this year to Georges Jorisch, grandson of the woman who owned it until the Nazis came.

Sotheby's autumn sale saw stronger results than rival Christies, which had a poor night on Tuesday, with several of the main works, including a Degas bronze sculpture, failing to find buyers.

A centrepiece of Sotheby's catalogue - Henri Matissse's monumental bronze sculpture of a woman seen from the back, Nu de dos - was withdrawn just before the auction after being sold in a private deal.

The huge bas-relief bronze was sold to an unidentified buyer along with three others that form a group.

The auction house had been intending to sell them separately over the year, at prices of about $US20-30 million, because as a group the price had been considered too forbidding in a nervous international market.

Picasso's playful and erotic L'Aubade, estimated at $US18-25 million, sold for $US23 million.

Gustave Caillebote's Le pont d'Argenteuil et la Seine, estimated at $US5-7 million, sold for $US9.26 million, a record for the artist at auction.

Overall, 57 lots of 70 sold, or 81 per cent, and 13 failed to find buyers, including three works by Miro and one Renoir.


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