Rembrandt picture

The Adoration of the Kings, a work now attributed to Rembrandt by Sotheby’s and estimated at £10m-15m.

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Sotheby’s will offer what it describes as “an exciting addition to the painted oeuvre of the great Dutch master Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-69)”.

The monochromatic panel painting The Adoration of the Kings first came to light in a French collection in the 1950s and, although it was considered an autograph work by art historians including Dirk Hannema and Johan Quirijn van Regteren Altena in 1955 and 1956 respectively, and was exhibited as such on several occasions, its attribution was later downgraded.

Having changed hands a number of times since, it most recently sold as ‘circle of Rembrandt’ at an online auction held by Christie’s Amsterdam in October 2021. Back then it was offered with a €10,000-15,000 estimate and was bid to €860,000 (£731,605) including premium.

Sotheby’s says that now, following an 18-month research programme, it has been “widely recognised as a work of great signi f icance in Rembrandt’s early career” and dated to c.1628. Having had old retouchings and discoloured varnish removed, the auction house stated that analysis via X-rays and infra-red imaging has led “a wide range of leading Rembrandt scholars” to endorse it as an autograph work from the “formative period of his early career”.

It will be offered with an estimate of £10m-15m at the Old Master evening sale in London on December 6.

Sotheby’s co-chairman of Old Master paint ings worldwide George Gordon said: “This sophisticated painting is in equal measure a product of Rembrandt’s brush and his intellect. All the hallmarks of his style in the late 1620s are evident both in the visible painted surface and in the underlying layers revealed by science, showing multiple changes in the course of its creation, and casting fresh light on how he thought.

“Very few narrative paintings by Rembrandt remain in private hands, making this an opportunity for a private collector or an institution that is as rare as it is exciting.”

Canaletto vedute

Meanwhile a pair of ‘prime location’ Venetian scenes by Canaletto (1697-1768) will lead Christie’s Old Master sale in London on December 7.


The Molo with the Piazzetta and the Doge’s Palace from the Bacino, one of a pair of vedute by Canaletto estimated at £8m-12m at Christie’s. 

With one depicting the mouth of the Grand Canal from the east and the other showing the Piazzetta and Doge’s Palace from the Bacino, the unpublished canvases were previously unknown to scholars but are very much in keeping with the artist’s works painted for English clients after 1720.


The Mouth of the Grand Canal from the East, one of a pair of vedute by Canaletto estimated at £8m-12m at Christie’s. 

Measuring 18½in x 2ft 7in (47 x 78cm), the oils on canvas here date from c.1734 and are described by Christie’s as in excellent condition. Christie’s is selling the works on behalf of a private UK vendor and has estimated them at £8m-12m for the pair.