Austrian artist Gustav Klimt’s iconic painting Lady with a Fan (Dame mit Fächer) has shattered records, fetching a price of US$108.4 million. This historic sale has propelled the artwork to the most expensive piece ever auctioned in Europe.

The artwork was left on the artist’s easel when he died in 1918.

At the heart of the painting’s appeal lies Klimt’s distinctive style, characterised by intricate patterns, decorative elements, and rich symbolism. Lady with a Fan portrays a woman holding a fan, enveloped in Klimt’s signature golden leaf and ornamentation. The painting’s composition and expert use of colour create a mesmerising sense of depth and dynamism, effortlessly capturing the viewer’s attention.

Klimt’s remarkable ability to convey emotion through his brushstrokes adds another layer to the painting’s allure. Through his deft artistic touch, he captures the essence of the sitter, bringing her to life on the canvas. This profound connection between the artwork and the viewer contributes to its status as a masterpiece.

Lady with a Fan’s historical significance enhances its appeal. As one of Klimt’s last unfinished works before his untimely demise, the artwork carries a sense of intrigue and mystery.

The scarcity of Klimt’s works on the market also plays a pivotal role in elevating the value of Lady with a Fan. With only a limited number of his paintings available, the opportunity to acquire such a significant piece from one of the most influential figures in Viennese art is a rare occurrence.

The combination of aesthetic beauty, artistic innovation, and cultural importance elevates Lady with a Fan to the status of a masterpiece. Gustav Klimt, renowned for his opulent and symbolist artworks such as The Kiss and Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I, solidified his position as one of the most influential artists of his time.

Klimt was actively working on Lady with a Fan when he died in February 1918. He succumbed to pneumonia resulting from a stroke that left him partially paralysed. The painting, therefore, remains a testament to the artist’s final moments and the path he might have pursued had he not been tragically taken from the world of art.

The allure of Gustav Klimt’s Lady with a Fan continues to captivate art enthusiasts and collectors alike, as demonstrated by its recent sale at auction house, Sotheby’s.

Previously sold in 1994, Lady with a Fan fetched US$11.6 million at an auction in New York. This time, Sotheby’s facilitated the sale, with the buyer identified as art adviser Patti Wong, acting on behalf of a collector from Hong Kong. The acquisition by a collector from Hong Kong further underscores global demand and widespread interest in Klimt’s unparalleled works.

The sale of Lady with a Fan sheds light on broader art market trends. The significant demand for Klimt’s works highlights the enduring legacy of this visionary artist. It also highlights the continued appreciation for his contributions to the realm of art.