Lost works seem to pop up on the art market every day now, especially in the Old Master market where values are said to remain strong and fairly undiminished from the peak of the art book. Sotheby’s important London sale of Old Master paintings is coming up in the middle of next month and the house has some startling new discoveries to share with the world. The Independent got the opportunity to reveal the new Rubens:
Previously unknown to Rubens scholars, this “beautifully preserved early work” has joined the list of the Old Master’s paintings after being given to Sotheby’s to auction next month. It is expected to raise up to £6m, in a sale whichincludes a rare Van Dyck self-portrait for £3m.
A spokesman for the auction house said that while the owner was aware the work was a Rubens, the painting has been in private hands for most of its history, so only those who owned it were aware it existed.
The ruff worn by the sitter is identified as being a Spanish fashion, and the portrait is believed to have been painted either in Italy – where it might have been commissioned by the Duke of Mantua for his ” of Beauties” in the early 17th century – or during the artist’s diplomatic mission to Spain.
It is stamped as belonging to the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice and was sold in the 19th century to a British collector called Sir John Hanmer, whose family sold it in the 1930s. Its current, anonymous, owner bought the painting around 25 years ago.
‘Shy’ Spanish Beauty Joins Rubens Catalogue (Independent)