Gustav Klimts Lost Fresco Found In Austrian Garage

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   (2012-07-16 00:00:00)

London: An early work by symbolist artist Gustav Klimt that was thought to be lost forever has reportedly been found in a garage in northern Austria.

The ceiling fresco named ' Trumpeting Putto' depicts a trumpet-blowing cherub-like child draped in a red scarf against a sky-blue background.

The artwork is said to have graced the ceiling of Klimt's Vienna studio, where he lived with his brother Ernst between 1883 and 1892 after he had completed his studies.

But unfortunately, in the late 1980s, after a lift was installed in the building in Sandwirt Lane, the fresco disappeared, the Guardian reported.

Art historians, who had speculated about its whereabouts ever since, have believed that the fresco must have been destroyed by now. But, art dealer Josef Renz received a call last week from a man, who claimed to have discovered the fresco in his garage.

The man insisted that he had only recently become aware of the artwork's fame, and did not know how it had ended up there.

"This valuable and unique ceiling fresco is in very good condition," Renz, who has rescued several other Habsburg-era artefacts from obscure locations, said.

Renz revealed that he was convinced of the authenticity of the painting, which he had spent years searching for, but he refused to disclose the amount he had paid the owner for it.

He told the Austria n media he intended to have the fresco restored and put up for auction in the autumn.

However, Alfred Weidinger, a Klimt expert and deputy director of the Belvedere museum, which displays many Klimt works, expressed doubt that the painting was by Gustav Klimt, and insisted that there was more evidence to suggest it was painted by the artist's much less celebrated brother Ernst.

"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."

Weidinger pointed that not only was the work not signed by Gustav, it was "not a particularly good artwork" and shared similarities with ceiling paintings by Ernst in Schloss Mondsee, close to Salzburg.

He admitted that at best the painting might be a collaborative effort by both brothers.