Sunday 2 July 2023

Gustav Klimt's masterpiece is the most expensive artwork ever auctioned in Europe and his studio cats destroyed his drawings!

Gustav Klimt had about eight cats in his studio destroying his drawings. He was a cat lover. No question about it. The picture below is of Klimt and his cat 'Katz' - a German surname from the German word "Katze." meaning cat.

Klimt and Katz. Credits: Far Out / WikiArt / Picryl)

He did not like to paint himself and preferred to paint women. His studio was a complete mess according to art critic Arthur Roessler, who visited the artist's studio. He was surprised perhaps shocked at the conditions under which Klimt worked.

The description is of a pile of drawings and papers together with up to 10 meowing and purring cats, play-fighting with each other. Roessler was surprised to see the cats which spoiled "hundreds of the most beautiful drawings".

Gustav Klimt appeared to be unconcerned. When the art critic queried what he was doing in allowing the cats to damage his artwork, he said that it doesn't matter even if they crumple and tear the papers because urine "makes the best fixing agent!"

But the fact is that apparently urine had damaged the drawings. Perhaps Gustav Klimt had got used to the smell of it. Domestic cat urine does not make a fixing agent by the way.

Gustav Klimt is in the news not because of his love of cats and allowing his cats to rummage around his studio which appears to have been in a complete mess, but because his works are being fully appreciated by the buying public as a painting of his, Dame mit F├Ącher (Lady with a Fan) is the most expensive artwork ever auctioned in Europe at $108 million. That price includes the commission to the auctioneer which is known as the buyer's premium.

The actual hammer price was £74 million (US$94.35 million). It exceeded the presale estimate of £65 million by a big margin. The previous European auction record was US$104.3 million (£65 million)

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