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A Gustav Klimt painting valued at up to $54 million was rediscovered after being missing for nearly a century

The "Portrait of Fräulein Lieser" by Gustav Klimt.
"Portrait of Fräulein Lieser" by Gustav Klimt.Auktionshaus im Kinsky GmbH, Vienna
  • Gustav Klimt's painting "Portrait of Fräulein Lieser" was rediscovered after nearly 100 years.

  • The painting is set to be auctioned in April and is valued at up to $54 million.

  • It once belonged to a Jewish family, though there isn't evidence of it being looted by the Nazis.

A long-lost painting by the Austrian modernist Gustav Klimt has been rediscovered after nearly a century.

In a news release on Thursday, the im Kinsky auction house in Vienna said that rediscovering "Portrait of Fräulein Lieser" after it had been secretly hidden in private ownership for almost a hundred years was a "sensation."

The portrait's sitter, a member of the Lieser family, visited Klimt's studio in Vienna in 1917 to pose for the portrait, the year before Klimt died from a stroke, according to the Observer.

After his death, it was given to the Lieser family, and the news outlet reported it was last seen in a photograph taken in connection with a Klimt exhibition in 1925.

It was one of Klimt's last-ever paintings.

The auction house said that the central European art market has struggled to find another painting "comparable in rarity, artistic rank, and value" in decades, particularly in Austria.

After being exhibited globally, the portrait will be auctioned in Vienna in April, with an estimated value of up to €50 million, or around $54 million, the auction house said.

It's being sold on behalf of the current private owners and the legal successors of Adolf and Henriette Lieser, wealthy Jewish industrialists from Austria, in accordance with the Washington Principles on Nazi-Confiscated Art, according to the auctioneers.

The so-called Washington Principles aim to address Jewish losses of artwork during the Holocaust.

Even so, the Observer reported that there is no evidence that the work was looted, stolen, or otherwise unlawfully seized during the Holocaust, with no Nazi-looted art claims having been made.

Where the painting has been for close to a century is unclear, though the Observer said it likely ended up in the hands of Adolf and Henriette Lieser, the latter of whom was killed in a concentration camp during World War 2.

According to the auction house, the painting appears to have been acquired by "a legal predecessor of the consignor in the 1960s and passed to the current owner in three inheritances."

Klimt's paintings have previously sold for huge amounts at auction.

Last year, Klimt's "Dame mit Fächer" (Lady with a Fan) sold for $108.4 million, making it the most expensive piece of art ever sold in Europe.

Read the original article on Business Insider