Optimism - or sleeper of the decade?

October 27 2011

Image of Optimism - or sleeper of the decade?

Picture: Sotheby's

This picture is a copy of Rembrandt's celebrated self-portrait in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. It was sold at Sotheby's today with an estimate of £8-12,000 - but realised £110,000 with premium. I thought it was quite nice - it dominated the room in which it was hanging at the auction - but not Rembrandt nice.

So the question is, is it worth £110k as a copy? No. Is it worth, I dunno, £20/30m as a Rembrandt? Yes, if it's a Rembrandt... The costume differed from the Vienna picture, and the provenance was illustrious; it was being sold by the Liechenstein Collection. Perhaps these factors led to at least two people thinking it was worth a punt. Equally, somebody may be confident of attributing it to an artist in Rembrandt's circle or studio. 

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