Gustav Klimt landscape sells for a record £48m

Image source, PA
Image caption,
Bauerngarten (Flower Garden) is now Klimt's highest-priced landscape

A floral Gustav Klimt painting has sold for nearly £48m, making it the third most expensive piece of art ever sold in Europe.

Bauerngarten (Farmhouse Garden) is now the highest-priced landscape by the Austrian artist.

It is the first time in 20 years the oil-on-canvas had been auctioned.

The painting, showing an "informal profusion of poppies, daisies and roses" sold for £47,971,250 at Sotheby's in London.

It was part of a record-breaking sale totalling nearly £200m at the auction house on Wednesday.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Five lots sold for more than £10m at the auction

Helena Newman, chairman of of Sotheby's Europe, said of the work: "Innovative in its composition and jewel-like in its exquisite blaze of colours, it is one of the artist's greatest masterpieces ever to come to auction.

"Most of the artist's oil paintings of this calibre are in major museums around the world with only a handful works of this importance having appeared at auction in the last decade."

Bauerngarten was exhibited at the Royal Academy's Painting the Modern Garden exhibition last year.

'New benchmark'

The most expensive artwork sold in Europe is Alberto Giacometti's Walking Man, which sold for £65,001,250 in 2010, followed by Peter Paul Rubens' The Massacre of the Innocents, which sold for £49,506,648 in 2002.

Sotheby's said it was a new record total for any auction staged in London, with lots totalling £194.7m. Five lots sold for more than £10m each.

Ms Newman said the result was "a new benchmark for London sales as much as it is a statement on the momentum of the global art market in 2017".

Another record was also set at the auction. Pablo Picasso's Plant de tomates was expected to reach £10m to £15m, and sold for £17m - making it a record for a Picasso still life.

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