Rembrandt portrait to be offered for $47 million

Fri Jan 28, 2011 12:28pm EST
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LONDON (Reuters Life!) - A Rembrandt portrait, one of the last works from the Dutch master's late career still in private hands, will be offered for sale at the TEFAF Maastricht art fair later this year for $47 million.

"Portrait of a Man With Arms Akimbo" was under the auctioneer's hammer as recently as 2009, when it fetched an artist record price of 20.2 million pounds, or $33 million, at Christie's in London.

The buyer at the time was reported to be casino owner Stephen Wynn, although others, including Manhattan dealer Otto Naumann, were interested, according to New York Times.

It is Naumann who is now exhibiting the work at the fair, according to PR company Cawdell Douglas, which represents TEFAF. The event rums from March 18-27.

Since 2009, it has been "transformed by cleaning and can now be seen in its full glory," a Cawdell Douglas statement said.

Art experts said the sharply higher asking price could reflect both the cleaning process and the fact that art market values soared in 2010 during which several records were set.

The painting, executed 1658, dates to one of the most difficult periods of the artist's career.

He had enjoyed success after arriving in Amsterdam in the early 1630s, but his expensive lifestyle and financial mismanagement led to bankruptcy in 1656.

His art collection, other possessions and house were sold and there appear to have been few commissions for paintings to provide income. Apart from Portrait of a Man With Arms Akimbo, only one other full-scale work is known from 1658.

TEFAF 2011 will showcase more than 30,000 works of art from around 260 exhibitors.

(Reporting by Mike Collett-White, editing by Paul Casciato)