London, July 10 (Reuters): A Rembrandt self-portrait that lay unseen for hundreds of years under layers of overpaint sold for £6.9 million pounds in London on Thursday.
Auction house Sotheby’s said the price was the highest ever paid for a self-portrait of the Dutch master at auction.
Dating from 1634 when the 28-year-old Rembrandt was at the height of his fame and living in luxury in Amsterdam with his new wife Saskia, the picture is the first of his self-portraits to go to auction in three decades.
It was bought by US casino tycoon Steve Wynn in a transatlantic telephone bid, a Sotheby’s spokeswoman said.
“The painting will be put on display at the Wynn Resorts Collection in Las Vegas,” she said.
Rembrandt, who towards the end of his life had to sell his house to pay off his debts, painted at least 40 self-portraits.
But the newly discovered image was not recorded in the literature of his works because of the overpainting.
The signed painting, which Sotheby’s Old Master expert Alex Bell said was overpainted very soon after it was originally completed, shows the young artist staring boldly out from the canvas from under the shadow of his trademark beret.
It was painted over by one of Rembrandt’s pupils and transformed into a picture of a flamboyant Russian aristocrat.