Gustav Klimt, "The Kiss", 1907-08
A painting preparing to go to auction may end up being sold under the wrong name. The recently found work was discovered in a garage, where it was placed after being removed from a 19th century studio where brothers and painters Ernst and Gustav Klimt resided.
According to art dealer Josef Renz, the ceiling painting which features a cherub playing a trumpet and is titled "Trumpeting Putto", was either created by the two brothers or Gustav Klimt alone. However, Austrian Klimt expert Alfred Weidinger is contradicting these claims, stating that the painting was created solely by Ernst Klimt.
An art historian and curator of the Schlossmuseum Belvedere in Vienna, Weidinger states that he recognised the painting as a work of Ernst Klimt, who died 26 years before his brother, Gustav.
"It's definitely not an important painting, even for Ernst Klimt," Weidinger said
The question revolving around which brother actually created this piece of work is essential, as Gustav Klimt is notably more famous than his brother, Ernst, and the auction price is likely to reflect this if buyers suppose the painting was created by Gustav.
Despite Weidinger’s claims, Renz is sticking to his initial statement that the work was created by Gustav.
"It's definitely not only by Ernst. In the worst case scenario, it's by both brothers," he said.
Gustav Klimt was best known for his paintings of the female body, the most famous of these being the 1907 painting "The Kiss." His brother, Ernst, incurred far less success for his artistic works.
The ceiling fresco in question was remarkably discovered by an Austrian man who had only recently come to realise the worth of the painting located in his garage. He contacted Renz, who paid the owner an undisclosed sum for the work. Convinced by the painting’s authenticity, Renz told the media that he plans to restore the fresco before putting it up for auction sometime in the coming months.
If it is to be believed that the painting was in fact created by Gustav, there could not be a more fitting time for it to be discovered, following the recent celebrations for what would have been the painter’s 150th birthday. But Weidinger claims that this is part of the reason that people are so quick to assume that the painting was created by the famous painter.
"This work has been floating round since the 1960s, and repeatedly attempts have been made to have it recognised as one of Klimt's, especially in this, the 150th anniversary of his birth," he said
. "But in research into the catalogue of paintings he produced, studies for this painting made by Ernst Klimt have been found."