Another fortuitous discovery in the world of art happened by chance. A Gustav Klimt ’s masterpiece was found hidden in the wall of an Italian gallery this week. The artwork, disappeared in 1997 is a notable female portrait valued €60 million.
Klimt artwork was stolen in 1997
The painting went missing in February 1997. In particular, it disappeared from the Ricci Oddi gallery in the northern city of Piacenza.
The astonishing discovery was made by a gardener who happened to glimpse, behind a metal panel outside the gallery, a suspicious trash bag. Surprisingly, the man found what seems to be the original Klimt that went missing about 23 years earlier.
Portrait of a Lady is a suggestive creation belonging to a wide series of female portraits by the Viennese art nouveau painter. Above all, just ten months before its theft, an art student had an astonishing intuition confirmed through X-ray analysis. Portrait of a Lady appeared to cover another work by the prominent symbolist painter.
Certainly, the debate around the masterpiece’s authenticity will be lively until further examinations. However, if these will classify the painting as an original, proving its legitimacy, the sensational discovery will be double.
Portrait of a Lady, a fortuitous discovery
The event could bring to light what seemed to be one of the many lost works that were never going to be found again. Surely, it could be one of the most significant findings of the last decades.
According to the Italian culture councilor Papamerenghi this was the second most valuable artwork that went missing in Italy. Particularly relevant for the Italian art scene, the painting is second only to a work by Caravaggio that disappeared from Sicily in 1969.
“If the findings confirm the authenticity of the painting, it would be a sensational discovery and we would be ready to exhibit it in the gallery as early as January. We are talking about the most sought-after stolen painting in the world after Caravaggio’s Nativity with St. Francis and St. Lawrence“
Gustav Klimt, a female universe
The gallery has been actually closed to the public. For now, while a scientific team proceeds with the inspections, the work has been transferred to an unknown place, in the custody of the judicial authority, to ascertain whether it is actually the original copy.
The artwork could enrich the heritage of Klimt’s female universe. Male figures rarely appear in the enveloping seduction of Gustav Klimt ‘s paintings. In the decorative jubilation of gold and thick plots, women are the real protagonists.
Women, in his art, casually take plastic and captivating poses. In particular, they emerge, with sometimes languid, sometimes ruthless, looks.
Above all the woman becomes a representation of the Truth. In this vision, the new find fits harmoniously with the known collection of the Austrian painter. The legitimacy of the work remains to be ascertained, but if this was proved we would have a new window on the incredible artistic imaginary of Gustav Klimt.