Vermeer painting sold for a 'record' EUR 24m

8th July 2004, Comments 0 comments

8 July 2004, AMSTERDAM — A painting which was only authenticated last year as the work of Dutch master Johannes Vermeer, has sold to an anonymous bidder for GBP 16.2 million (EUR 24 million) at auction in London.

8 July 2004

AMSTERDAM — A painting which was only authenticated last year as the work of Dutch master Johannes Vermeer, has sold to an anonymous bidder for GBP 16.2 million (EUR 24 million) at auction in London.

The painting, entitled "Young Woman Seated at the Virginals" far exceeded the reserve price of GBP 3 million set by auctioneer Sotheby's.

Humorously described in the Guardian newspaper as a "small picture of a pudgy-fingered young woman in a lumpily-painted yellow shawl", the authenticity of the painting has been the source of contention between art experts for 100 years.

It has taken 11 years of extensive research and restoration by leading scholars for the painting to be recognised as a true Vermeer, news agency AFP reported.

There are just 35 other paintings around the world attributed to Vermeer and the last public auction of one of his works took place 81 years ago when "The Little Street" went under the hammer, but failed to sell.

It was later sold privately for about GBP 150,000, Reuters reported, and presented to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. It is now one of the museum's most treasured possessions, the Guardian said.

The Young woman seated at the Virginals depicts a young female playing music and is thought to have been painted by Vermeer five years before his death in 1675. The work measures only 25cm by 20cm

"Given that the painting was the last remaining generally accepted work by Vermeer still in private hands, its appearance on the market represented a unique opportunity for collectors to acquire an example of this legendary artist's work," Sotheby's said in a statement.

Thanks to the limited number of Vermeer works in existence and the rare event of a public auction of his paintings, the sale price achieved at Wednesday's auction could be described as a record.

But it is not a world record for a painting by an old master. This is held by the sale of Ruben's "Massacre of the Innocents" which was auctioned in London for GBP 49.9 million two years ago.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news + Vermeer

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