Two Rare Rembrandt Paintings Could Fetch $10 Million

The pair of portraits have been kept in a private collection away from the public eye for 200 years—but that’s about to change very soon.

Any genuine painting by the Dutch artist Rembrandt would be expected to fetch a hefty sum at auctions, given his prestige in the art world. He’s a legendary figure best known for his mastery over chiaroscuro—a technique that involves the delicate control of light and dark elements to capture a subject’s environment, depth, and emotions. 

A self-portrait of Rembrandt, which clearly demonstrates his use of chiaroscuro
A self-portrait of Rembrandt, which clearly demonstrates his use of chiaroscuro (1659, oil on canvas)/Photo via Wikimedia Commons

So what could be more priceless than a Rembrandt painting? Apparently, two paintings from the artist that haven’t been seen by the public in 200 years. So much so that they were never included in any literature concerning the Dutch artist. 

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The paintings in question are meant to be a pair and are eight inches in height. One features the face of an elderly man, while the other captures the visage of an elderly woman presumed to be the gentleman’s wife. 

The rediscovered pair of Rembrandt paintings
The rediscovered pair of Rembrandt paintings/Photo via Instagram @christiesinc

Experts say that the couple in the portraits come from a prominent family in Leiden, Netherlands. The pair’s son, Dominicus van der Pluym, married the daughter of Rembrandt’s uncle. Pluym and his wife then had a son who’s believed to have trained under the master painter himself. 

An Unexpected Rediscovery

The rare portraits, which date back to 1635, were found by experts at Christie’s during a routine valuation. 

“I wasn’t aware of what I was going to be seeing,” shared Henry Pettifer, international deputy chair of Old Master paintings at Christie’s, to the Financial Times. “It was extraordinary to me that the pictures had never been studied before.”

The paintings were kept in the private collection of a family in the U.K. until their discovery. After an analysis of the pieces—done by The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, a center of Rembrandt scholarship—it was declared that they possessed a “virtually unbroken” line of provenance and were certainly genuine. 

The Value of a Never-Before-Seen Pair

Given Rembrandt’s status as a globally-revered artist, Pettifer believes that many more people besides wealthy individuals will take interest in the works. A variety of buyers and collectors are expected to place their bids, as well as museums and galleries with impressive budgets. 

The auction record for most expensive Rembrandt painting ever sold was set by the piece Portrait of a Man with Arms Akimbo, which sold for a jaw-dropping $33.2 million in 2009

The most expensive Rembrandt piece ever sold, "Portrait of a Man with Arms Akimbo" (1658, oil on canvas)
The most expensive Rembrandt piece ever sold, “Portrait of a Man with Arms Akimbo” (1658, oil on canvas)/Photo via Wikimedia Commons

The newly-discovered pair of portraits are expected to fetch $6.3 million to $10 million when they’re put up for sale at Christie’s London showrooms on July 6. Prior to that, they’ll be going on tour in New York and Amsterdam starting July 1. 

Banner photo via Instagram @christiesinc.

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