This Gustav Klimt Painting Is The Most Expensive Artwork Ever Sold In Europe

Klimt’s “Lady With a Fan” is also the second most expensive portrait ever sold at auction.


Sotheby’s The Now Evening Auction of modern art masterpieces in London just set a European sales record.

Austrian painter Gustav Klimt’s Dame mit Fächer (Lady with a Fan) fetched $108.77 million, including a buyer’s premium, at the end of a 10-minute bidding war.

That makes the 39.5 by 39.5-inch oil painting the most valuable Klimt to date and the most expensive artwork ever sold in Europe—the previous European artwork sales record was set by a $104.3 million sale of Alberto Giacometti’s sculpture Walking Man I in 2010, according to CBS News.

Lady with a Fan is also the second most expensive portrait sold at any auction, second only to Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi, which became the world’s priciest artwork when it sold for $450 million in 2017.

Klimt, who is perhaps best known his iconic 1908 Art Noveau marvel The Kiss, passed away in 1918 with Lady with a Fan on his easel. As Sotheby’s notes, “The captivating depiction of a nude figure reveals Klimt exploring a new approach to color and form, resulting in a masterpiece by an artist at the height of his powers.”

“Dame mit Fächer (Lady with a Fan) is an absolute testament to Klimt’s artistic genius—a work that captured the imagination of everyone who saw it. It was an honor to see that high level of enthusiasm play out here in London tonight, and to see the painting so hotly pursued,” Helena Newman, auctioneer and chairman of Sotheby’s Europe, said in a statement.

“Of course, the greatest honor to bring down the hammer on a work that has, quite fittingly, made auction history,” Newman said.