Ahead of Christie’s forthcoming Old Master sale tonight (8 December) in London, Robert Read, fine art expert at specialist art insurer Hiscox, comments:
“If ever there was a painting to test the recessionary times it’s Rembrandt’s ‘Portrait of a man with arms akimbo’ which was last sold in 1974 during the oil crisis, and prior to that was sold in the Great Depression of the 1930s.
“That it’s up for sale again at the tail end of what many have labelled as the deepest recession since the 1930’s may be a coincidence but a world record price would be no surprise, given its quality, rarity and strong provenance.
“Both the Rembrandt and Raphael’s ‘Head of a Muse’ which is also included in tonight’s sale would, if they sell well, reinforce the pronounced shift in collectors’ appetite over the last year for more established, traditional and painterly works. Richard Wright’s Turner prize winning fresco, though temporary in existence, also proves that it’s not just the Old Masters reinforcing today’s demand for more ‘traditional’ art whether new or old, rooted as it is in the skills of the Renaissance fresco makers.”
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