An Old Master by the 17th century French painter Charles le Brun has been discovered hanging unattributed in the Hôtel Ritz in Paris.
The painting, which has only recently come
to light, was not hidden away in a dusty attic, but was on display
on the hotel walls in its famous Coco Chanel Suite. It was
identified by art consultant Joseph Friedman, who was advising the
Ritz on their current renovation, and fellow consultant Wanda
When they examined the painting they
discovered the inscription C L B F, which they realised
could stand for Charles Le Brun Fecit, and the date 1647. It was
then shown to Le Brun experts in the French museum world and has
been recognised as an unrecorded autograph work.
The Ritz archives have not revealed how the
painting arrived at the hotel and it could have been there when the
building of 1705 was acquired by César Ritz in 1898. The 5ft 10in x
4ft 4in (1.8 x 1.3m) oil on canvas depicts a classical subject,
The Sacrifice of Polyxena, daughter of King Priam.
The painting has been consigned for auction at Christie's and
will come up in their Old Masters and 19th century sale in Paris on
April 15, estimated at €300,000-500,000.