One of the last self-portraits by Rembrandt remaining in private hands is to go on sale next month with a guide price of £12-16 million ($15-20 million, 13-18 million euros).
Only three of the Dutch master’s painted self-portraits remain in private hands: Sotheby’s in London sold one in 2003; another is on long-term loan to the National Gallery of Scotland.
The third, “Self-portrait wearing a ruff and black hat”, is the earliest in date of the three, and goes on sale at the London auction house on July 28.
The self-portrait is one of 80 he created during his career, and was painted towards the end of 1632, when the 26-year-old was establishing himself in Amsterdam and enjoying his first flush of commercial success.
“Rembrandt’s face is instantly recognisable to us at every stage of his adulthood — far more so than any other painter,” said George Gordon, Sotheby’s co-chairman of Old Master Paintings Worldwide.
“We know that this painting was created in a remarkably short period of time, because he laid in the background first, but when he signed it upon completion, the background was still wet, so the signature is impressed into it by his brush.”