Painted in 1907, the same year as his famous luminous portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I, Klimt’s floral masterpiece comes from his much-loved golden period. Known for his opulent and exquisitely-detailed portraits of the Viennese bourgeoisie, Bauerngarten reveals Klimt’s more expressive and experimental side.
Landscapes allowed Klimt a freedom that couldn’t be so easily explored in his portrait commissions. There are of course echoes of figures within these works; there is a triangular aspect in Bauerngarten that certainly mimics the composition in his portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer.
The oil painting’s mood also alludes to the joyous time Klimt spent during the summer when he would stay in Attersee with friends and family. It was there, in the garden of a local farmer, that he found the rustic inspiration for Bauerngarten.
Undoubtedly one of Klimt’s masterpieces, it’s a rarity that such a painting should come to auction as many works from this period are normally held in major museum collections around the world. With an estimate of $45 million, Bauerngarten is the “jewel-like” star of Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern Art sale.
Ahead of the auction, you’ll be able to see Klimt’s Bauerngarten as well as other key lots that include works by Pablo Picasso, Paul Gauguin, Modigliani, Pissarro and Sisley in a free exhibition at the Bond Street auction house.
A free exhibition of the Impressionist & Modern Art sale is at Sotheby’s from Thursday 23 February to Tuesday 28 February.