A laughing young man turns out to be a serious Old Master

We’d like to share with you another amazing story from the world of fine art. It goes like this: The portrait of the laughing young man – which had been in the family for over 100 years – was brought to a local auction house for sale after being rejected by a major London auction house.

Auctioneers Moore, Allen and Innocent, of Cirencester, listed the small 24 x 17 cm oil on copper painting as “follower of Rembrandt”, and gave it a modest estimate of £ 1,500.

At the auction however, there were two parties present believing the work was a true Rembrandt, and they were prepared and cashed up to go all the way. The battle ended at a cool £ 2,2 million, making this one of the most successful over estimate sales ever. Not surprisingly, it also produced a record sale for the auction house and the highest price for a painting sold outside London.

The leading expert on the Dutch Old Master, Ernst van de Wetering, has just released his detailed analysis and it authenticates the work as an original Rembrandt. He says: ‘Brush stroke, contour, materials and the monogram all point to the master’s hand.’

This wonderful report catapults the value of this small treasure into the region of £ 15 million – and the new owner no doubt will be laughing too now.

If you had been the previous owner, where would you have gone to sell a painting like this? Of course, you would have contacted your independent art broker.

Written by

Hi, my name is Brigitte Banziger and I am an art consultant and manager at Banziger Hulme Fine Art Consultants, Australia's art valuation and art advice experts. We specialise in art valuations for insurance purposes, for family division, deceased estates, superannuation funds and market values, and advise clients regarding purchase and sales of art (art brokerage). Our services are sought by private clients, companies, public galleries and councils alike. Our aim is to provide professional service with friendly, approachable manner.

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