Woman with a Fan is among the many only a few portraits by Klimt, a number one determine of the Vienna Secession artwork motion, to be owned privately. It was final offered in 1994, when it fetched $11.6m (£9m). Thirty years later, it’s anticipated to command practically seven instances that, seemingly turning into one of the vital costly portraits ever to come back to public sale. If Sotheby’s achieves the value it’s asking, £65.5m ($83.4m), Klimt’s remaining portray will soar previous René Magritte’s L’empire des Lumières, which offered for £59.4m ($75.6m) in 2022; Alberto Giacometti’s Strolling Man I, which set the file for any murals offered at public sale in Europe when it went in 2010 for £65m ($83m); and Claude Monet’s Le Bassin aux Nymphéas, which offered for £40.9m ($52m) in 2008.
Set side-by-side with Klimt’s better-known works, corresponding to The Kiss and Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I, Woman with a Fan reveals how far the artist had travelled creatively within the decade earlier than his dying. Gone is the audacious glitter of gold leaf that exalted his sensual topics into secular icons. Far looser and extra expressive in its brushstrokes, Woman with a Fan depends for its depth on the blurring of textures, each materials and psychological, as every part bleeds right into a single scintillating substance. Intensifying that sense of unfixable fluidity are moments within the portray the place the naked weave of linen canvas continues to be seen – unpainted patches which have led some to suspect that work was nonetheless unfinished. However it is a portray whose very energy points from flux and fragmentation. Its unfinishedness is what completes it.
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