Colin Gleadell picks through the best of Master Paintings week accompanying the Old Master sales that begin today:
Perhaps the show- stopper in the galleries is a densely populated, 7ft-wide Flemish allegorical painting, Man Having to Choose between the Virtues and Vices painted in the 1630s for the City of Antwerp by Frans Francken 11 (above). An acknowledged masterpiece, it was lost to scholars until it surfaced at an auction in Vienna in April estimated at a modest 400,000 to 500,000 euros. London dealer Johnny van Haeften bought it over the telephone for £6.3 million. Having squeezed it through the enlarged front door of his St James’s gallery, where museum directors have been queuing up to inspect it, he is now asking £9.5 million for it.
Art Market News (Telegraph)