Home Interior Design Two rare Rembrandt paintings, the artist’s last known portraits in private hands, fetched $14 million at Christie’s London

Two rare Rembrandt paintings, the artist’s last known portraits in private hands, fetched $14 million at Christie’s London

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Christie’s managed to raise £11.2 million ($14.3 million) for a pair of Rembrandt portraits on July 6 during “Classic Week” in London, which were billed as the last portraits of the master artist in private hands. The final premium price was well above the high estimate of £8 million ($10.3 million).

He was almost 200 years since the sale of the works at Christie’s, and the auction house called them a “historic rediscovery”.

The models have been identified as Jan Willemsz. van der Pluym (c. 1565–1644), a wealthy plumber from Leiden, and his wife, Jaapgen Carels (1565–1640), and are signed and dated 1635. The intimate paintings depict two of Rembrandt’s relatives and have a practically uninterrupted source. The authenticity has been supported by the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, which has undertaken extensive investigation and scientific analysis.

The eight-inch-tall portraits were rediscovered earlier this year by Henry Pettifer, international vice president of Christie’s Old Master Paintings, in an otherwise routine assessment. In a statement, Pettifer called the find “one of the most exciting discoveries we’ve made in the Old Masters field in recent years.”

The year the portraits were painted, the couple bought a garden next to that belonging to Rembrandt’s mother. Later, their son married the artist’s uncle’s daughter.

Two paintings by Rembrandt Van Rijn:
Portrait of Jan Willemsz. van der Pluym (1635) [L] And
Portrait of Jaapgen Carels (1635) [R]. Courtesy of Christie’s.

Ahead of last week’s sale, the paintings toured internationally and were exhibited at Christie’s Rockefeller Center headquarters in New York, followed by exhibitions in Amsterdam and then London.

Christie’s holds the record for the most expensive Rembrandt ever sold at auction…Portrait of a man with arms crossed (1658), which sold for £20.2 million ($33.3 million) in London in December 2009, according to the Artnet price database.

The second highest price was also set at Christie’s London nine years earlier, in 2000, when Portrait of a lady in a black suit and a cap and a necklace (1632), sold for £19.8 million ($28.8 million).

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