Rubens Could Bring $35M

Long-lost painting to see with a group of Baroque-era works
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 29, 2022 3:00 PM CDT
Long-Lost Rubens to Be Sold
Hartmut Dorgerloh, left, of the Foundation for Prussian Palaces and Gardens, and US Ambassador Philip Murphy unveil "Salome Presented with the head of Saint John the Baptist" in Potsdam, Germany, in 2012.   (AP Photo/Gero Breloer)

A Peter Paul Rubens painting thought to have been lost for more than 200 years will go on auction in New York in January, along with nine other Baroque-era artworks, and could bring as much as $35 million. Sotheby's, which is handling the sale, said the 1609 "Salome Presented with the head of Saint John the Baptist"—the wording varies a bit—was misattributed after being added to a private French collection in 1768, CNN reports. It resurfaced in the 1980s and was sold for $5.5 million in 1998, a fraction of what the auction house expects the winning bid to be this time.

The Flemish painter's work should become one of the highest-value old masterworks ever sold, per the Guardian. The group of paintings together could bring $60 million. Ruben's painting "fearlessly explores the violent and sexual dynamics of the Biblical narrative like some pre-cinematic Martin Scorsese," said Keith Christiansen, curator emeritus at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. "It's the kind of painting that, once seen, you won't forget." (Read more Peter Paul Rubens stories.)

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