A painting identical to the “Portrait of woman” of Gustav Klimt, missing 23 years ago, was found last December in the museum that kept it at the time. The da confirmed that this was the masterpiece of the Austrian painter.
The painting had been discovered by chance, nestled in an alcove, in the exterior wall of the Ricci-Oddi Modern Art Gallery in plaisance. The Small Chamber had been invisible because of a thick layer of Ivy. Painted in 1916-1917, the portrait was one of the master pieces of the museum’s collection opened in 1931 and would be estimated at 60 million euros.
“it is not without emotion that I can tell you that the work is authentic”, said district attorney ornella chicca to the press last week. The Museum officials had announced the news without being able to decide immediately on its origin, saying that the work would be subject to scientific reviews.
Made almost 100 years ago, the portrait describes the face and chest of a young woman with brown hair wearing a colourful jacket, on an emerald green background. His flight dates back to February 1997, when the guilty had stolen it from a glass roof window, on which the frame was found.
” the painting is in excellent condition. It’s strange to think that it was hidden in a wall, near the ground behind the vegetation for 22 years “, said Jonathan Papamarengh, assistant to culture of the town hall of plaisance, shortly after the discovery. If the ivy that covered its location had not been cut for almost a decade, intensive excavation had obviously been carried out after the flight, and the wall was not covered by the current vegetation.
Chicca said that additional tests would be carried out to determine whether the canvas was hidden in the museum’s walls, or if it was placed there later. “once these exams are finished, the painting will be returned to the walls of the gallery”, she said.
The Expert Guido Cabrini studied the portrait under infrared and UV Light, comparing the images to those taken during the tests carried out in 1996. “the match between the images allowed us to determine that it is the original painting”, He said. The State of the table was, according to the expert, ” relatively good. He’s been through a few tests, but only needs a few routine care, nothing particularly complicated.
The x-Ray analysis carried out in 1996 had revealed that the portrait covered another, that of a different woman.
Gustav Klimt (1862-1918), portrait of woman, 1916-1917, 60 x55 cm, image © Deagostini / Getty Images, piacenza, Gallery D ‘ arte