Nazi-Seized Old Master Painting Leads New York Auction

  • June 06, 2013 23:13

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Gerrit van Honthorst, "The Duet," 1624, sold for $3.37 million on June 5.

A recently restituted painting by 17th-century Dutch master Gerrit van Honthorst was the top lot in a Christie's Old Masters sale on June 5 in New York.

Once part of the collections of Catherine the Great's art adviser and Russia's Hermitage Museum, The Duet was confiscated by the Nazis during World War II from Jewish art collector Bruno Spiro. The painting went through a number of German private collections after the war before being sold to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in 1969.

The museum returned the painting to Spiro's heirs in April.

The Duet, which sent four bidders to competition above the low estimate of $2 million, ultimately sold to London art dealer Johnny van Haefton Ltd. for $3.37 million, an auction record for the artist.

The 1624 work of nocturnal revelry is the type of scene the artist is known for and "a superlative painting on all levels, with its composition, condition and provenance," said Nicholas Hall, Christie's co-chairman of Old Masters and 19th century art.


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