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A portrait of Flemish artist Cornelis de Vos and his family made by another painter in his circle, Anthony van Dyck, when he was just emerging at 20 years old from the studio of his teacher Peter Paul Rubens achieved $3.4 million, one of the artist’s top results, in Sotheby’s Old Masters evening sale in London last week. The sale came after the painting was held for four decades in a private collection on the island of Jersey. The work had been recovered by the famed World War II team of art sleuths known as the Monuments Men and returned to its original Jewish-Dutch owners in 1948. The sale came in at more than double the $1.4 million estimate. It now ranks as the sixth highest price paid for a van Dyck at auction, surpassing the $3.3 million paid for his royal portrait of the young Prince of Wales sold at Sotheby’s in February 2018. That work came to auction after more than a century in private hands.
The Flemish Baroque painter van Dyck had a prolific career as a British royal court painter in the 17th century. Known for his commanding depictions of high-status sitters, he has become one of the top sellers in the old masters category. The bulk of his most expensive auction sales include museum acquisitions, rediscoveries or paintings long unseen by scholars. When they surface at auction, they have fueled the momentum behind the artist’s market.Continue Reading