Gustav Klimt's 'Lady With a Fan' Sells For $108 Million, Becomes Europe's Most Expensive Artwork Sold At an Auction

Gustav Klimt's 'Lady With a Fan' Sells For $108 Million, Becomes Europe's Most Expensive Artwork Sold At an Auction
Cover Image Source: Sotheby's

Gustav Klimt's "Lady with a Fan" has become the most valuable painting sold at an auction in Europe. Klimt's Lady, which was sold for £85.3 ($108 million) at Sotheby's London auction Tuesday, exceeded the pre-sale expectations. 

Following an elaborate bidding war, the painting finally went to Patti Wong, the founder of Patti Wong & Associates. Celebrated for his bold style, the Austrian painter's work beat the previous European auction record of $104.4 million, which was around £65 million at the time, as per Fortune.


This painting was completed by Klimt before his death in 1918 and features an unidentified woman in the center with Chinese-style background of dragons and flowers.

The painting is also the second-most expensive painting sold in the world after Leonardo da Vinci's "Salvator Mudi", which sold for $450 million in 2017.

"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," said Helena Newman, auctioneer and chairman of Sotheby's Europe, as per CBS.

Who Was Gustav Klimt?

Getty Images John Phillips
Getty Images John Phillips

Gustav Klimt was an Austrian-born painter, who was active between 1870 to 1918. Klimt studied at the Vienna School of Decorative Arts. His early works were very typical of the 19th century. However, with time his style evolved and he stepped into the world of Art Nouveau, a style that features architectural illustration, as per Britannica.

He was a crucial figure in the 19th century well known for his murals and paintings. According to, the primary theme of his works is mostly the "female body" and was greatly influenced by Chinese and Japanese culture.

Gustav Klimt and The Vienna Secession

It was a group created by Gustav Klimt, Josef Hoffmann, Koloman Moser, and Joseph Maria Olbrich in 1897. The founding intention was to give Vienna's artwork a global platform and gave the young generation a venue to showcase their work. 

The 14th and probably the most famous exhibition happened in 1902 when the group came together and dedicated the day to Ludwig van Beethoven, by making a statue and the very famous Beethoven Frieze by Gustav Klimt.

Most Famous Works By Gustav Klimt

The Kiss: This painting was made somewhere between 1907 and 1908 in Vienna. The painting is arguably Klimt's most famous work. The painting depicts a man embracing a woman, while the woman is turning away. Klimt is known for using symbolism in his works and has often used his backdrops to depict many subtle stories.


Avenue in the Park of Schloss Kammer: Klimt is also known for many landscapes and this is one of the most talked about landscapes from his collection of artworks.

The Virgin: The painting now sits at the National Gallery in Prague and is the epitome of colorful brilliance. The painting filled with symbolism depicts the story of a girl growing up and embracing womanhood.

Portrait of Emilie Flöge: Klimt never married but he was known to have a lifelong affair with Emilie Flöge whom he painted in 1902. She was one of the most influential fashion designers in Austria at the time and was a trendsetter in her own way. The portrait shows her as a young attractive woman who is wearing a dress of her own design. 

Adele Bloch-Bauer I: One of his most known oil paintings which was completed in 1909, depicts Adele Bloch-Bauer, the wife of Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer, a Viennese banker. Klimt used silver and gold leaf in his painting technique and also used a paint called gesso.

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