Island in Lake Attersee changes hands for 53.2 million dollars

Gustav Klimt: Island in Lake Attersee, 1902, private collection
© Sotheby's

The "Seebild" Insel im Attersee was painted in 1902 during Klimt's third summer stay in Litzlberg. On August 17, 1902, the artist described his daily schedule in a letter to Maria "Mizzi" Zimmermann, mentioning: "[...] after that comes a lake bath, taken with all due care - then a little painting again, a lake picture in the sunshine [...]".
As in his first work Am Attersee (1900, Leopold Museum, Vienna), the artist skilfully explored the changing colors and textures of the water in various shades of blue. With the help of short, impressionistic brushstrokes, Klimt succeeded in creating an excellent depiction of the picturesque Upper Austrian lake.

The painting, which was brought to New York by the art historian and gallery owner Otto Kallir (née Nirenstein), who had to flee Vienna during the Nazi era, found a new home in the St. Etienne Gallery he founded there. It is now moving from the USA to private ownership in Japan for 53.2 million dollars.