Painting found in Italy gallery’s walls verified as Gustav Klimt’s ‘Portrait of a Lady’

The painting which was found last December near an art gallery and believed to be the missing Gustav Klimt's painting ‘Portrait of a Lady’ is displayed during a press conference in Piacenza, Italy, Friday, Jan. 17, 2020. (Photo: Antonio Calanni, AP)

PIACENZA, Italy (AP) — Art experts have confirmed that a painting discovered hidden inside an Italian art gallery’s walls last month is Gustav Klimt’s “Portrait of a Lady,” which was reported stolen from the gallery nearly 23 years ago.

The authentication of the painting announced Friday solved one of the art world’s enduring mysteries – where did the missing work end up? – but left several questions unanswered, including who had taken it and whether it ever left the museum’s property.

In December, a gardener at the Ricci Oddi Modern Art Gallery in the northern city of Piacenza who was clearing away ivy noticed a small panel door on a wall outside and opened it. Inside the space, he found a plastic bag containing a painting that appeared to be the missing masterpiece.

“It’s with no small emotion that I can tell you the work is authentic,” Piacenza Prosecutor Ornella Chicca told reporters Friday.

The portrait, of a young woman sensually glancing over her shoulder against a dreamy moss green background, was displayed on an easel and flanked by two police officers at a news conference.

The painting is a later work by Klimt. The Austrian art nouveau master. painted it in 1916-17.

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