Sotheby’s Fashionable & Up to date Night Public sale in London on 27 Jun


One in all solely a small variety of portraits by Klimt nonetheless in personal arms, Girl with a Fan shall be supplied in Sotheby’s marquee Fashionable & Up to date Night Public sale in London on 27 June with an estimate within the area of £65 million ($80 million).


“Dame mit Fächer (Girl with a Fan) is the final portrait Gustav Klimt created earlier than his premature dying, when nonetheless in his creative prime and producing a few of his most completed and experimental works. Lots of these works, definitely the portraits for which he’s greatest identified, have been commissions. This, although, is one thing fully totally different – a technical tour de drive, stuffed with boundary-pushing experimentation, in addition to a heartfelt ode to absolute magnificence.”


 Sotheby’s to supply a piece that’s not solely the star of the summer season public sale season in London, but additionally one of many best and most useful artworks ever to be supplied in Europe.

Nonetheless standing on an easel in Gustav Klimt’s studio on the time of the artist’s surprising and premature dying in February 1918, Dame mit Fächer (Girl with a Fan) – a lovely, wealthy and alluring portrait of an unnamed girl – brings collectively all of the technical prowess and inventive exuberance that outline Klimt’s best work.

The final portrait Klimt painted, Dame mit Fächer can also be amongst his best works, created when he was nonetheless in his creative prime, and at a second when the ‘formality’ of his earlier commissioned work offers technique to a brand new expressivity – an ever-deeper, ever-more joyful immersion in sample, color and kind, which – whereas clearly influenced by his contemporaries Van Gogh, Matisse and Gauguin – grew to become one thing solely totally different in his arms.

Equally, whereas the marginally earlier works of Klimt’s well-known ‘golden interval’ – led by the enduring portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I of 1907 – see their sitter introduced icon-like, amid a tapestry of golden shapes, right here the sitter nearly dissolves into the background, the delicate patterning of the girl’s pores and skin repeated within the pale-yellow background.


Klimt first began work on Girl with a Fan in 1917, by which era he was among the many most celebrated portraitists in Europe: commissions got here thick and quick, for which he was capable of command costs far increased than any of his contemporaries. However this was a uncommon work painted solely within the pursuit of his personal pursuits. Stuffed with freedom and spontaneity, it displays Klimt’s pleasure in portray it and in celebrating magnificence in its purest kind. It additionally reveals his revolutionary strategy. Historically, portraits have been – and nonetheless are – painted within the eponymous ‘portrait (or vertical) kind’. Right here, Klimt returns to the sq. format that he used for his avantgarde landscapes earlier within the century, giving this portray a uniquely ‘trendy’ edge.

Klimt additionally right here offers full expression to his full fascination with Chinese language and Japanese artwork and tradition. Luscious, silken kimonos and Chinese language robes are identified to have been his dresswear of alternative, and his dwelling abounded with lovely objects from the East. Egon Schiele, an everyday customer, describes it like this: ‘the sitting room, [was] furnished with a sq. desk within the center and a lot of Japanese prints protecting the partitions… and from there into one other room whose wall was solely coated by an enormous wardrobe, which held his marvelous assortment of Chinese language and Japanese robes.’

In Dame mit Fächer, Klimt attracts principally on Chinese language motifs: the phoenix (image of immortality and rebirth, success and constancy) and lotus blossoms (symbols of affection, glad marriage and/or purity). In the meantime, his flattening of the background and juxtaposition of patterns displays his deep curiosity in Japanese woodblock prints.

“The sweetness and sensuality of the portrait lies within the element: the flecks of blue and pink which enliven the sitter’s pores and skin, the feathery strains of her eyelashes and the pursed lips that give her face character. Klimt right here gave himself full freedom to seize on canvas a devastatingly lovely girl. Her provocatively bared shoulder, poise and quiet self-assurance mix to gorgeous impact.”


The portray was acquired shortly after Klimt’s dying by Viennese industrialist Erwin Böhler. The Böhler household, together with Erwin’s brother Heinrich and his cousin Hans, have been shut buddies and patrons of each Klimt and Egon Schiele. They vacationed with Gustav Klimt on the Attersee, a lake close to Salzburg that was the inspiration for lots of the artist’s most vital landscapes and may be seen in images collectively. In 1916 Erwin bought the Litzelberg – a small island within the lake immortalised in Klimt’s work. An vital supporter of the humanities, Erwin Böhler commissioned main architect Josef Hoffmann to brighten the rooms of his residence within the Palais Dumba in Vienna the place the portray hung within the Music Room alongside Klimt’s landscapes Waldabhang in Unterach am Attersee and Presshaus am Attersee which have been additionally a part of his assortment. The work ultimately handed to Heinrich after which, upon his dying in 1940, to Heinrich’s spouse Mabel.

By 1967 it was within the assortment of Rudolf Leopold, who is thought to have bought a big group of Schiele drawings from Mabel Böhler in 1952 and can also have acquired this work from her. Dame mit Fächer was final supplied on the market practically thirty years in the past in 1994, when it was acquired by the household of the current proprietor. Most just lately it was the topic of an vital exhibition on the Belvedere in Vienna the place it was reunited with and proven alongside Klimt’s different nice, late masterpieces.

The exhibition of the portray in Sotheby’s New Bond Road galleries later this month will mark a serious second for Klimt lovers in London, with three main portraits by the artist on view concurrently within the capital for the primary time ever. (The opposite portraits, Hermine Gallia of 1904 and Adele Bloch Bauer II of 1912, are at present on view within the Nationwide Gallery’s much-acclaimed present, ‘After Impressionism’.)

The looks of this main work at public sale marks an vital second for the market: not solely is the portray essentially the most useful ever to have been supplied at public sale in Europe, it additionally now joins the ranks of essentially the most useful portraits – of any period – ever to have come to public sale.

Klimt himself additionally sits within the choose pantheon of artists to have achieved over $100m at public sale – his Birch Forest having offered as a part of the Paul G. Allen Assortment final yr for $104.6m. Whereas that was a panorama, just one portrait by Klimt of this calibre has ever appeared at public sale earlier than: Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer II, from 1912, which made $87.9m in 2006.

Dame mit Fächer additionally joins a powerful sequence of spectacular works to have starred in Sotheby’s Marquee Seasons in London: most just lately René Magritte’s L’empire des lumières (offered for £59.4m / $79.8m, March 2022) and Wassily Kandinsky’s Murnau mit Kirche II (offered for £37.2m / $44.9m, March 2023).

The star providing in London this June, Dame mit Fächer will characteristic massive in what is ready to be a really particular season of auctions, exhibitions and occasions at Sotheby’s this summer season, a lot of which shall be focussed across the topic of portraiture – timed to have a good time the much-anticipated reopening of the Nationwide Portrait Gallery in London.

Accordingly, Sotheby’s marquee Fashionable & Up to date Night Public sale on 27 June will embody a powerful grouping of portraits – by main artists corresponding to Alberto Giacometti, Edvard Munch, Leonor Fini, Elizabeth Peyton and Kerry James Marshall – all to be introduced in a particular sequence (‘Face To Face’) devoted to this lengthy however completely timeless and multi-faceted custom.

That too shall be complemented by a particular exhibition of masterpieces from Chatsworth Home in Derbyshire, one in every of Britain’s best stately houses, that includes works by Rembrandt, Sir Joshua Reynolds, Lucian Freud and Michael Craig-Martin, a lot of them by no means seen within the UK outdoors of Chatsworth earlier than.

Portraits from Chatsworth – A Mortgage Exhibition shall be on public view from 30 Might to 4 July. In the meantime, Klimt’s Dame mit Fächer, and different highlights from Sotheby’s suite of flagship June gross sales shall be on view to the general public from 20 to 27 June. Each exhibitions are free and open to all.

Lucian Freud’s “Tender Portrait” to focus on Sotheby’s London summer season gross sales season
Frank Auerbach, Mornington Crescent, 1969 Estimate: £3.5-4.5 million. Courtesy Sotheby’s.
LONDON.- This season’s main night sale of Fashionable & Up to date artwork at Sotheby’s London is ready to star 4 extraordinary items by three visionaries of British Artwork: Lucian Freud, Frank Auerbach and Frank Dobson. Coming to public sale from a distinguished personal assortment, all 4 works have been created inside just some miles of each other in London.

Lucian Freud’s bare portrait of Penelope Cuthbertson leads this distinctive group with an estimate of £8-12 million. Whereas from a primary look, the portray seems to be merely a portrait, a better inspection additionally alludes to the presence of the artist himself: the haphazard wardrobe provides a glimpse of Freud’s overcoat and boots, whereas the glowing reflections within the window maybe trace subtly to Freud’s kind, his brush, and his easel.

Freud’s meditative portrait shall be supplied alongside two outstanding work from Frank Auerbach’s most revered sequence’: Mornington Crescent, which carries the very best estimate ever positioned on a piece by the artist at public sale (est. £3.5-4.5m), and a portrait of his most famed sitter Juliet Yardley Mills, J.Y.M. Seated II (est. £800,000-1.2m). Scraped and sculpted, its richly impastoed floor powerfully conveys the depth of Auerbach’s emotional response to his topic in a fashion akin to Freud’s portrait of Cuthbertson (Night time Inside).

The gathering additionally includes a white marble sculpture of a feminine kind by Frank Dobson – a distinguished participant within the revival of ‘direct carving’ in Britain (est. £600,000-800,000). Uncommon to market, solely ten carvings by the artist have appeared at public sale within the final thirty years. Please discover additional data on every of the works beneath.

All 4 works will go on public view as a part of Sotheby’s preview exhibitions in its New Bond Road galleries, opening on 20 June, earlier than they’re supplied at public sale on the night of 27 June.

A Nearer Have a look at the Works

Lucian Freud’s Night time Inside, 1969-70 Estimate: £8-12 million. Courtesy Sotheby’s.

Without delay tender and meditative, intimate and contemplative, Lucian Freud’s Night time Inside is an entrancing bare portrait of Penelope Cuthbertson, the daughter of Teresa Jungmann, one of many authentic Brilliant Younger Issues, grand-daughter of the artist Nico Wilhelm Jungmann, and spouse of the late Desmond Guinness. Right here, Cuthbertson is portrayed sitting in a chair in entrance of a big window – her legs dangling over its arm, her eyes shut, dreaming. She doesn’t confront the viewer, or the artist, relatively the viewer confronts her in an intimate second of privateness.

Night time Inside is one in every of seven painted portraits the artist created of Cuthbertson throughout his lifetime. They first met at a celebration within the late Sixties, and shortly after Freud requested Cuthbertson to take a seat for him, creating the very first portraits of her in 1966 and an extra three in 1968, earlier than embarking on this closing work in 1968-70.

Night time Inside illuminates Freud’s mastery within the style of portraiture, although his output was restricted to capturing solely these closest to him. Whether or not self-portraits, or portraits of his kids, buddies, lovers, fellow artists and luminaries, Freud didn’t take commissions and as an alternative selected solely to color these with a specific significance to him. He would scrutinise his sitter for hour upon hour, day upon day, as an artist infamous for taking months and even years over a specific work.

Alongside portraiture, ‘the nude’ was the opposite defining leitmotif of Freud’s profession. Throughout six a long time of portray, innumerable mutations of painterly type, and a large number of sitters, he would return to this topic repeatedly. It was, in some ways, the best problem of his profession; an issue to which he by no means discovered an answer: “All portraits are troublesome for me. However a nude presents totally different challenges. When somebody is bare, there may be in impact nothing to be hidden. You’re stripped of your costume because it have been. Not everybody needs to be that sincere about themselves. Which means I really feel an obligation to be equally sincere in how I characterize their honesty. It’s a matter of accountability. I’m not making an attempt to be a thinker. I’m extra of a realist. I’m simply making an attempt to see and perceive the folks that make up my life.”

Night time Inside as soon as resided within the assortment of the late Garech Domnagh Browne, cousin of Girl Caroline Blackwood, earlier than it was acquired by Charles Saatchi after which by the current proprietor. The portray additionally has an illustrious exhibition historical past: it was a formative a part of Freud’s first main UK travelling retrospective which started on the Hayward Gallery, London, in 1974; it was included within the seminal present, Lucian Freud. L’Atelier, on the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, in 2010, and 6 years later within the Irish Museum of Fashionable Artwork’s mortgage exhibition Lucian Freud (2016-2018).

Frank Auerbach, Mornington Crescent, 1969 Estimate: £3.5-4.5 million Courtesy Sotheby’s.

Mornington Crescent is amongst Frank Auerbach’s earliest and largest painterly musings on North London. After transferring to his studio in Camden City, taking it over from Leon Kossoff in 1954, Auerbach would quickly start to discover the streets on his instant doorstep, in addition to these round Chalk Farm, Primrose Hill and Mornington Crescent, all of which carry lengthy cultural associations: the painter Walter Sickert stay there, and Charles Dickens attended a college close by. These areas shortly grew to become locations as acquainted to Auerbach because the faces of his long-standing sitters: “This a part of London is my world. I’ve been wandering round these streets for thus lengthy that I’ve turn out to be hooked up to them, and as keen on them as individuals are of their pets.”

Painted in tandem along with his inimitable portrayals of the human determine, London’s topography remained a central focus of Auerbach’s profession for over half a decade, counterbalancing but akin to the zoomed in focus of the studio-based recordings of his sitters. On this regard, Auerbach’s dynamic panorama work transcend mere panorama, as an alternative turning into daring recreations, relatively than representations, of locations that resonate on a profoundly private stage with the artist.

Mornington Crescent has remained in the identical personal assortment because it was first acquired from Marlborough Gallery in 1982, and exhibited solely as soon as on the event of the Royal Academy’s momentous retrospective of Auerbach’s oeuvre in 2001.

Auerbach, J.Y.M. Seated II, 1987 Estimate: £800,000-1.2 million

Portraying his most famed sitter, Frank Auerbach’s Head of J.Y.M. was painted in 1987, thirty years into the artist’s friendship with Juliet Yardley Mills, referred to by her buddies merely as J.Y.M. The 2 fashioned an in depth bond that resulted in a few of Auerbach’s most vital work. Mills first posed for the artist in 1956 when she was knowledgeable mannequin at Sidcup School of Artwork and continued to take action for over forty years till 1997. Each Wednesday and Sunday, J.Y.M would take two buses from her dwelling in Southeast London to Auerbach’s studio in Camden City. Talking of the expertise, she mentioned: “We had a beautiful relationship as a result of I believed the world of him and he was very keen on me. There was no type of romance however we have been shut. Actual buddies. Sundays now I’m at all times depressing.”

Punctuated with swathes of yellow ochre and orange – in dramatic distinction to the outlines of black impasto which vigorously sculpt the eyes, nostril, mouth and jaw – Auerbach portrays his topic sitting upright, her again firmly pressed towards the again of a supporting tall Windsor chair, exuding an imposing presence inside the composition.

This portrait involves the market on the heels of Sotheby’s record-breaking sale of one other of Auerbach’s most celebrated portraits of J.Y.M. for £5.6 million in October 2022. The artist can also be at present the topic of a serious solo exhibition, ‘Frank Auerbach: Twenty Self-Portraits’, at Hazlitt Holland gallery.