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Rembrandt Portrait to Top $30 Million Sale at Christie’s London

"A Bust of a Man in a Gorget and Cap" by Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn. The 1626-27 panel painting was one of 15 Dutch Old Masters from the collection of Pieter and Olga Dreesmann being sold by Christie's International in London on July 3. Christie's confirmed it was bought by an Asian client for 8.4 million pounds. Source: Christie’s Images Ltd. 2012 via Bloomberg.

A Rembrandt portrait will lead a London sale of a private collection of Dutch Old Masters that is valued at more than $30 million.

The panel painting “A Bust of a Man in a Gorget and Cap” has an upper estimate of 12 million pounds ($19 million), Christie’s International said today in an e-mailed release. The Caravaggio-influenced 1626-27 composition hasn’t been offered at auction for about 40 years and should fetch at least 8 million pounds on July 3, the company said.

In recent years, Old Masters have struggled to attract new collectors. Christie’s plans to stimulate fresh interest in historic paintings by taking the single-owner collection on a promotional tour to Doha, Moscow, New York, Hong Kong and Amsterdam before its sale.

The 15 works, worth at least 19 million pounds, are owned by Pieter Dreesmann, the son of the late Anton Dreesmann, a Dutch department-store heir whose collection was auctioned by Christie’s in a series of sales in 2002 that raised 7.3 million pounds.

Pieter and Olga Dreesmann are active collectors, owning pieces ranging in date from ancient Greece and Rome to 21st-Century contemporaries. The Old Masters are up for sale because the Dreesmanns, regular buyers at the Frieze Art Fair, are “re-focusing” their interests, said Christie’s.

The group also includes the Willem van de Velde II seascape “Shipping in a Calm,” valued at 2.5 million pounds to 3.5 million pounds.

Fruit Trio

Three still lives of fruit by the late 17th-century painter Adriaen Coorte are estimated to sell for prices ranging from 800,000 pounds to 1.8 million pounds each. The trio of paintings has remained together since being made more than 300 years ago and has never appeared at auction before, said Christie’s.

The London-based auction house sold Rembrandt’s 1658 painting, “Man with Arms Akimbo,” from the collection of Barbara Piasecka Johnson, the Johnson & Johnson heiress, for a record 20.2 million pounds in December 2009. It reappeared for sale in March 2011 at the Tefaf fair, Maastricht, priced at $47 million on the booth of the New York dealer Otto Naumann Ltd. The work is still for sale on the dealership’s website.

(Scott Reyburn writes about the art market for Muse, the arts and culture section of Bloomberg News. Opinions expressed are his own.)

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