Gustav Klimt painting sells for $59 million in strong London auction week

LONDON -- An exuberant floral landscape by Gustav Klimt has sold at auction for more than $59 million - the third-highest price ever paid for an artwork in Europe.

The golden art of Gustav Klimt

“Bauerngarten (Flower Garden),” painted in 1907, went for 47.9 million pounds ($59.3 million) at Sotheby’s in London.

Sotheby’s Europe chairwoman Helena Newman said the painting was “one of the artist’s greatest masterpieces ever to come to auction.”

Only two works have fetched more in Europe:

-Alberto Giacometti’s “Walking Man” sculpture, which sold for 65 million pounds in 2010

Employees at the Kunsthal museum in Rotterdam, Netherlands, adjust the sculpture “Walking Man” by Swiss artist Alberto Giacometti on Oct. 15, 2008.
Employees at the Kunsthal museum in Rotterdam, Netherlands, adjust the sculpture “Walking Man” by Swiss artist Alberto Giacometti on Oct. 15, 2008. Robert Vos/AFP/Getty Images

-Peter Paul Rubens’ painting “The Massacre Of The Innocents,” which netted 49.5 million pounds in 2002.

Sotheby’s staff display “The Massacre of the Innocents” by Sir Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640), painted between 1609 and 1611, at Sotheby’s in London July 5, 2002.
Sotheby’s staff display “The Massacre of the Innocents” by Sir Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640), painted between 1609 and 1611, at Sotheby’s in London July 5, 2002. Nicolas Asfouri/AFP/Getty Images

This has been a strong week for modern art auctions in London. Sotheby’s sale on Wednesday raised a total of 194.7 million pounds ($240.8 million). The auction house says that is a record for a London auction.

Top lots included Pablo Picasso’s “Tomato Plant,” which sold for 17 million pounds ($21 million), a record for a still life by the Spanish artist.

A worker poses with Pablo Picasso’s “Plant de tomates” ahead of an upcoming sale at Sotheby’s auction house in London, Britain, Feb. 22, 2017.
A worker poses with Pablo Picasso’s “Plant de tomates” ahead of an upcoming sale at Sotheby’s auction house in London, Britain, Feb. 22, 2017. Reuters/Peter Nicholls

On Tuesday at rival auctioneer Christie’s, Paul Gauguin’s Tahitian landscape “Te Fare” (The House) sold for 20.3 million pounds ($25.2 million). Rene Magritte’s surrealist painting “La Corde Sensible” (“Heartstrings”) sold for 14.4 million pounds ($17.9 million), a record for the artist.