Sotheby’s described the painting as “not only the star of the summer London auction season, but also one of the finest and most expensive works ever offered in Europe”.
The identity of the buyer is not known, but with costs included, he or she would have to pay more than £85m for the work.
Klimt painted Lady with the Fan in 1917, one year before his unexpected death at the age of 55. It was the last picture of the artist. The 1 by 1 meter canvas was on the easel at the time of his death.
The previous record for a European auction was held by Swiss artist Alberto Giacometti. The “Walking Man I” sculpture was sold in February 2010 for £65 million, also at Sotheby’s.
Klimt was one of the most sought-after and expensive portrait painters of his time. His photos are almost never shown publicly for obsession. A few paintings by the Austrian painter are still in private ownership.
Klimt also holds the world auction sale record. Het Birkenbos (1903) went under the hammer at Christie’s in New York last year for $104.5 million, the equivalent of €95.3 million.
“Subtly charming internet specialist. Avid writer. Friendly alcohol guru. Music ninja. Devoted social media fanatic.”