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    MICHAEL SWEERTS (BRUSSELS 1618-1664 GOA) – The Artist’s Studio with a Seamstress

    This completely unpublished and unknown canvas by Michael Sweerts made a record £12,615,000 over a top estimate of £2-£3 million at Christie’s Old Master’s sale in London. The unpublished and previously unknown canvas has been recognised as a signal masterpiece of Michael Sweerts’s art and a highly important addition to the oeuvre of ‘one of the most creative, enigmatic and hauntingly memorable artists of the seventeenth century’ (P. C. Sutton, Michael Sweerts: 1618-1664, exhibition catalogue, Amsterdam, 2002, p. 11). Painted in Rome, where Sweerts is documented living in the Via Margutta between 1646 and 1652, this is perhaps his greatest picture on the theme of the artist’s studio, borne out of his own deep interest in education and artistic instruction. Two of his best-known works, also from his Roman period, are on the same subject: the Artist’s Studio in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, datable to circa 1650 and In the Studio, in the Detroit Institute of Arts, dated 1652. The present picture may pre-date both works and was likely painted soon after Sweerts’ arrival in Rome.

    The landmark re-discovery of the last known pair of portraits by Rembrandt in private hands, Portrait of Jan Willemsz. van der Pluym and Jaapgen Carels, sold for £11,235,000. A discovery of a pioneering early work by Fra Angelico The Crucifixion with the Virgin, Saint John the Baptist and the Magdalen at the Foot of the Cross made a new auction record for the artist of  £5,001,000. Christie’s Classic Week Evening sales realised a combined total of £68,156,850 achieving sell-through rates of 80% by lot and 92% by value. A total of 36% of new registrants to these sales were millennials; the breakdown of buyers by region was:43% EMEA / 35% APAC / 22% Americas.

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