Sotheby’s set new London auction record with £48m Klimt leading the way

A sale of Impressionist, Modern and Surrealist paintings at Sotheby's on Wednesday night set the record for an auction staged in London, with Gustav Klimt's 'Bauerngarten' fetching £48 million.

Total sales at Sotheby’s totalled £194,753,500, a record for a London auction, with Picasso’s Plant de tomates also starring as it sold for £17m.

Klimt’s Bauerngarten was fought over by four bidders before the hammer fell at a price which is the third-highest for any painting ever sold at auction in Europe. Only  Giacometti’s Walking Man I (which sold for £65,001,250 in 2010) and Rubens’ The Massacre of the Innocents (which went for £49,506,648 in 2002) have sold for more.

Bauerngarten is a 1907 landscape that had been in a private collection since 1994 and was most recently exhibited at the Royal Academy of Art London in the highly acclaimed ‘Painting the Modern Garden’ exhibition.

Sotheby's sell Gustav Klimt's Bauerngarten

Gustav Klimt’s Bauerngarten

A further work by Klimt, Girl in the Foliage, also saw heated bidding as its price was pushed up to £4m, with the Gustav Klimt Vienna 1900 Foundation being the winning bidder.

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Eight Picasso paintings were sold during the course of the evening, fetching an aggregate of £54.7m, while Rene Magritte’s Souvenir de voyage and Le repas de noces sold for £3.4m and £2m respectively.

Sotheby's sell Pablo Picasso’s Plant de tomates

Pablo Picasso’s ‘Plant de tomates’

Other highlights included Amedeo Modigliani’s Portrait of Baranowski selling for £16m, and Alfred Sisley’s Effet de neige à Louveciennes going for £7.4m, a record for a Sisley.