When it last went under the hammer in 1930 it fetched the princely sum of £18,500. Yesterday auctioneers expressed confidence that a Rembrandt masterpiece, unseen in public for more than 40 years, will fetch up to £25m, this time around.
Auction house Christie's said Portrait Of A Man, Half-Length, With His Arms Akimbo could break the record price for a Rembrandt, which stands at £19.8m, paid for Portrait Of A Lady Aged 62, in December 2003. The painting is being offered by a private collector. The work dates from one of the most creative and turbulent periods in Rembrandt's life, when he was declared bankrupt and forced to sell his studio.
Richard Knight, international co-head of Old Masters and 19th-century art at Christie's said: "Rembrandt is recognised as one of the most influential artists in European history, and we are honoured to be able to offer a truly remarkable portrait . The picture has been unseen in public since 1970."
Measuring 42in by 34in, the portrait shows an unknown subject in a defiant pose with his hands on his hips, and is one of only two Rembrandts dated 1658. The work displays the artist's much celebrated late style, with loose but controlled brushstrokes and clever use of light and shade.