Gustav Klimt’s Portrait of Fräulein Lieser Estimated At €30 Million

A Man Looks At The Painting " Portrait of Fräulein Lieser" (Credits: AP)

A painting by Gustav Klimt is set to go under the hammer on Wednesday at a European auction house, with an estimated value of at least 30 million euros (approximately $32 million).

The artwork’s reappearance after years of obscurity has sparked a flurry of inquiries regarding its subject, one of three closely related teenage girls.

A $32 Million Sparks Debate Over Identity and Ownership

The auctioneer overseeing the sale is not a global powerhouse like Sotheby’s or Christie’s, but rather im Kinsky, a local establishment in Vienna.

This event marks a significant moment for the house, whose previous record sale was in 2010, fetching $6.1 million for a piece by Egon Schiele.

Much of the debate revolves around the identity of the young woman depicted in the portrait. Additionally, questions linger about the painting’s whereabouts during Austria’s annexation into the Third Reich.

The artwork was once owned by a Jewish family, yet there are no records documenting its fate during the tumultuous years of Nazi persecution.

Auctioneer Michael Covacek Declares Sale Of The Painting (Credits: AP)

The portrait, known as “Portrait of Fräulein Lieser,” traces its origins back to Vienna in 1917 when a teenage daughter of a wealthy Jewish family made multiple visits to Klimt’s studio to pose.

The painting, left unfinished upon Klimt’s death in 1918, was only known through a single black-and-white photograph taken in the 1920s. Its whereabouts remained largely unknown thereafter.

Recent research and discoveries shed light on the painting’s journey. Letters unearthed from 1961 suggest that the painting was in the possession of a man named Adolf Hagenauer, who may have acquired it during the Nazi era.

Attendees Take Photographs Of The Painting (Credits: AP)

Despite the uncertainties, im Kinsky’s auction catalog asserts that a fair and just resolution has been reached with legal successors of the Lieser family, allowing for the painting’s sale.

Restitution remains a sensitive issue, with ongoing discussions about identifying the rightful heirs to the artwork.

As the auction approaches, the identity of the girl in the painting remains a subject of intrigue, underscoring the complexities of provenance and ownership history in the art.

Mousumi Routray is experienced content writer who helps businesses reach their audience through engaging content. She has written blog posts, articles, newsletters and more for companies in tech, entertainment and other industries.