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Rare Rembrandt Sells for $25.8 Million

Rare Rembrandt Sells for $25.8 Million

A rare late work by Rembrandt depicting the Apostle James in prayer was sold Thursday for $25.8 million, the auction house said.
"Saint James the Greater," painted by the artist in 1661, was described by the vice chairman of Sotheby's Old Master paintings, George Wachter, as one of the most important Rembrandt works ever handled by Sotheby's.
"Over the past 20 years, the vast majority of pictures by the artist that have appeared on the market have dated to the 1630s and '40s," Wachter said. "It is exceedingly rare to have one that dates to the 1660s. Works of this period, the last decade of Rembrandt's life and a time of personal turmoil, are extremely intense, soulful and introspective."
The painting, which had a presale estimate of $18 million to $25 million, was purchased by an anonymous telephone bidder, Sotheby's said. The price includes the buyer's premium.
The work, offered as part of an old masters sale, is from a group of single figure, half-length "portraits" of religious figures Rembrandt painted in the late 1650s and early 1660s. The dimly lit portrait shows the patron saint of pilgrims with his hands clasped in prayer. His face is weathered and sad, and a wooden staff rests against a wall beside him.
"The hands of the apostle are particularly moving," Wachter said in a statement. "The gradations of color, browns and grays, are absolutely breathtaking."
"Saint James the Greater" recently was shown at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles and the Staatliche Museum in Berlin.
The painting, measuring 36 inches by 20 inches, had been in the collection of Stephen Carlton Clark, the grandson of the founder of the Singer Sewing Machine Company and brother of Sterling Clark, founder of The Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Mass.
It recently was donated to a foundation that consigned it for sale, Sotheby's said.
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Updated : 2021-04-17 16:31 GMT+08:00