Colin Gleadell reports on the sale of an unattributed Old Master painting that has folks guessing it might be an early Rubens. This ahead of the recently attributed Rubens to be sold at Christie’s by the Spencer family:
A painting estimated to fetch no more than £2,000 sold for £692,000 at a routine Old Master sale at Bonhams in Knightsbridge last week. The portrait of a bearded man in armour was catalogued as 19th-century, in the “manner of Sir Peter Paul Rubens”. However, a number of dealers did not agree and turned up to bid on the picture. The successful bidder was Bendor Grosvenor, a director of the Philip Mould Gallery, which specialises in historical portraits. Mould, who has a track record of spotting “sleepers” at auctions (ie, works that have not been recognised by auctioneers and are therefore under-valued), said that he was struck by the painting’s “exceptional quality and vitality”, but had not yet done enough research to prove it was an early work by Rubens. Bonhams meanwhile is sticking to its guns. “The picture was very carefully studied in the Old Master department before it was catalogued, and we remain of the view that it is a work in the ‘manner of Rubens’ but of a later date,” it said in a statement.
Market News (Telegraph)