The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles has purchased the self-portrait by Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (1606-69) which is now known as Rembrandt Laughing.
When it originally sold in October 2007 at Gloucestershire saleroom Moore, Allen & Innocent for £2.2m (outstripping a £1000-1500 estimate), it set a record for a picture sold in the UK provinces.
It had been consigned by an English family who had owned it for many years but were apparently unaware that it may have been by the hand of the Dutch master. In the year following that sale, the 8¾ x 6½in (22 x 17cm) oil on copper from 1628 was identified as an autograph work by Ernst van de Wetering, head of the Rembrandt Research Project. Crucially it had the artist's monogram, RHL, which combined the artist's name with his home city of Leiden.
It has now been acquired by the Getty for an undisclosed price from a London dealership.
At the same time, the Getty also announced that it had acquired a view of the Grand Canal by Canaletto. Again the price was undisclosed.
Meanwhile, in the UK a partnership of five national and regional museums has raised £23.1m to save John Constable'sSalisbury Cathedral from the Meadowsfor the nation.
The 1831 painting had been on long-term loan at The National Gallery since 1983 but has now been purchased from the children of its late owner, Lord Ashton of Hyde, through London fine art agents Robert Holden Ltd.
The work will be shown at Tate Britain before travelling around the UK at the end of the year.
In a separate development, The Ashmolean announced it has acquired the portrait of John Ruskin by John Everett Millais. Recently exhibited at the Tate's Pre-Raphaelite exhibition, it has been on loan to the Ashmolean since January 2012 and has been allocated to the Oxford museum under the Acceptance in Lieu of Inheritance scheme.