Rembrandt self-portrait sells for $18.7M at Sotheby’s

Associated Press

London – A self-portrait by Rembrandt sold for 14.5 million pounds ($18.7 million) at a Sotheby’s virtual auction Tuesday. The house said that was a new record for a self-portrait by the Dutch master at auction.

Sotheby’s said “Self portrait wearing a ruff and black hat,” from 1632, was sought by six bidders Tuesday. The last self-portrait by Rembrandt to appear at auction was sold for 6.9 million pounds in 2003.

The painting sold Tuesday was one of only three self-portraits by the painter that are in private hands.

A Sotheby's employee adjusts a painting by Rembrandt, entitled 'Self-portrait, wearing a ruff and black hat' at Sotheby's auction rooms in London.

The sale was part of an online auction featuring work that spans five centuries of art history, from Rembrandt to Picasso, and from Joan Miró to Banksy.

“With the global art world calendar having shifted, we too have seized the opportunity to do things differently,” said Helena Newman, chair of Sotheby’s Europe. The auction caters to “a new generation of collectors (who) show less concern with the traditional art market categories of the past,” she added.

The most valuable paintings include Miró’s “Peinture (Femme au chapeau rouge)” (Woman in a Red Hat) from 1927, estimated to sell for 20 to 30 million pounds ($25-37.5 million.)

The auction also includes a triptych by Banksy called “Mediterranean Sea View,” painted in 2017. Presented in elaborate traditional frames, it features orange life jackets and alludes to the lives lost at sea during the European immigration crisis. Proceeds from the paintings, expected to fetch from $1 to $1.5 million, will raise money for a hospital in Bethlehem.

Sotheby’s London said some two-thirds of the works on sale have never been at auction before. Of the rest, most had been off the market for two decades.