Dhe opponents of the Dutch Baroque have never met each other personally. The Flemish painter prince Peter Paul Rubens (1577 to 1640) resided in his Antwerp city palace, had a huge workshop work for him, was often on the road as a diplomat between the Spanish and the English king. Supposedly even as an agent.
The younger Rembrandt van Rijn (1606 to 1669) painted himself up quickly in Amsterdam, only to crash later. At first he was an admirer of Rubens. There is an episode in the TV series “Rembrandt and I” in which the miller’s son and his painter friend Jan Lievens break into the university at night to marvel at a freshly acquired Rubens painting.
The two have now met in London. Indirectly, at least with their works. On July 28th, Sotheby’s mixed Auction of old masters and contemporaries, how they are becoming more and more fashionable, auctioned off two long-seen pictures of the former rivals.
Rubens painting reappeared in 2017
If a piece with “Sir Peter Rubens” is offered as the author, it is considered to be a manual work in the art trade. The portrait of an unknown lady, which was valued at a minimum estimate of £ 2.5 million, was once considered an authentic Rubens at the beginning of the 20th century. Then it was forgotten in a family collection.
In 2017, the dusty lady reappeared at an English provincial auction and raised it to £ 78,000 as the “Rubens Circle”. After cleaning, it glows red-cheeked and blue-eyed against a landscape background.
Experts found so-called pentimenti (translated “remorse”) on the canvas, meaning changes and repainting by the artist. This speaks for an original work by the master and against a copy of the employees who only copied the models one to one. The elegant painting from around 1620 was now auctioned for three million pounds.
A ruthlessly honest painter
The Rembrandt self-portrait in the same auction was by far the more important lot. Who doesn’t know it, the most famous bulbous nose in art history? Rembrandt portrayed himself in all phases of his life and more often than any other painter.
However, almost all of the “Ich, Rembrandt” paintings hang in museums, only a few that cannot be sold in private collections. The art critic Robert Hughes called Rembrandt the “topographer of the human face”. And on his own, he was as honest and ruthless as some of his clients’ faces – which they didn’t always like.
After 15 years, the self-portrait “Rembrandt with ruff and black hat” came back on the market. It was reportedly owned by a bank. Even if the wooden plate is just 21.8 centimeters high, the shooting star of the commercial metropolis Amsterdam at that time staged a monumental presentation. The way he saw and loved himself: confident, a little arrogant, chic and enigmatic.
Even if there were no serious doubts about the authenticity of the picture, there were always questions. After the earlier, over-restored condition (now fixed) and the “wrong” name. Because Rembrandt had signed “Rembrant”. Without D!
Why? First, he had monogrammed his works with RHL for Rembrandt Harmenszoon Leydensis, i.e.: son of the poor from Leiden. But with his success, he began to want to be recognized by his first name, like the great Italians of the Renaissance. Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael, Rembrandt. He would have liked this list. So he apparently experimented with different spellings for a short time until he finally decided on the dt variant,
Grafologists from the Dutch Ministry of Justice have examined the signature and found it to be genuine. The oak panel also comes from the same tree as that of a painting that is now in the Hamburg Kunsthalle. The portrait was valued at a minimum of twelve million pounds.
Jan Six, the Amsterdam-based Rembrandt expert, explorer and art dealer, said to WELT: “I held the small board in my hand in January. It is fantastic after removing the overpaintings. And probably the last self-portrait that is ever for sale. A museum, whether in Europe, America or Asia, that lacks the face of Rembrandt in its collection, should take the chance. There won’t be any after that. ”It was auctioned off for £ 16m. That means world record for a self-portrait of the master.
Federal Republic restituted Bellotto
The auction “From Rembrandt to Richter” at Sotheby’s featured a total of 56 works of art from five centuries. In addition to Frans Hals, William Turner, Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, Gerhard Richter also with a Dresden scene by Bernardo Bellotto. The painting once belonged to the Jewish department store king, Max Emden.
He had to flee to Switzerland from the Nazis and sell the Bellotto to Hitler’s art dealers due to economic constraints. Instead of the never built “Führer Museum” in Linz, it later hung as the property of the Federal Republic in the office of the Federal President. Horst Köhler left it hanging in 2005, and it was only returned to the Emden heirs many years later. Now it was bought honestly – for £ 5.4 million.