The sentiment is shared by Swiss collectors, one of whom invested a low-estimate SFr1.2m (£1.02m) to secure the top lot at Beurret & Bailly (25/20% buyer’s premium) in Basel on June 24.
Anker’s large format canvas Die Taufe, the characteristic depiction of a christening, was painted in 1864. It was exhibited in Paris in that year and was subsequently marketed by the famous Paris dealership of Goupil & Cie.
There was a lot more action in the room when the mid-17th century painting Joseph Presents his Father to the Pharaoh came up for sale. The 5ft 4in x 6ft 8in (1.63 x 2.04m) canvas was the work of Jan Victors, who was most probably one of Rembrandt’s pupils in the 1630s.
Although conclusive evidence is lacking that this was the case, paintings by Victors certainly reflect the close influence of the great master.
He painted numerous large-format biblical scenes, often focusing on the relationship between father and son, as was also the case with the painting offered in Basel for SFr40,000-60,000. Its provenance could be traced back to 1776, when it belonged to a certain John Hope in Amsterdam. It was offered for sale on behalf of a Swiss company, having been in their collection since the 1930s.
International bidders were on hand and on the phones and pushed the price to SFr190,000 (£161,015) paid by an anonymous buyer.