Gustav Klimt - Irrlichte 1903

Gustav Klimt - Irrlichte 1903
52x59cm oil on board laid down on canvas
Sold for: USD 3.21 million
Auction house: Christie's, New York
Sale date: 3 November 2010
Seller: Private collection
Buyer: Anonymous buyer

From Christie's, New York:
One of a group of striking and revolutionary symbolist paintings from Klimt's celebrated "gold and silver" period, Irrlichter (Will o'-the-wisp) is a rare and important work from 1903 that remained largely hidden for most of the twentieth century. The painting emerged from a private collection in 1978, having been previously known only through a photograph showing it at the Secession exhibition of the same year (fig. 1), where it had hung alongside Klimt's other major works from this period, such as Musik II, Philosophie and Medizin. Early references to Irrlichter appear in publications of Die Kunst, Ver Sacrum, and Hervesi's Kunst und Handwerk in 1903 and 1904. These magnificent paintings, among which Irrlichter was installed, are among the most important of Klimt's oeuvre, and were tragically destroyed in 1945. For decades, it was thought that Irrlichter had suffered the same fate.