A small panel by Rembrandt van Rijn, discovered at a minor American auction house last year, is one of the star attractions at this year’s TEFAF art fair in Maastricht which opens on Friday.
The panel was spotted by Paris-based art trader Talabardon & Gautier when it was put up for sale in New Jersey last September. It was attributed to the ‘continental school, 19th century’ and given a guideline price of $800. A bidding war for the panel erupted at the auction, with three telephone bidders pushing up the price. It was eventually sold for over one million Euro’s, including auction costs.
The painting transpired to be one of the missing panels of the five senses produced by Rembrandt at a young age. Sight, Hearing and Touch were found in the 1930s. The newly discovered panel depicts the sense of smell. Rembrandt expert Ernst van de Wetering told Dutch broadcaster NOS that ‘there is no possible doubt, the painting is 100% a Rembrandt’. The painting features a barber or surgeon who is bleeding a young man while an old woman tries to revive him with an ammonia-soaked cloth.
Although the panel will be on display at TEFAF, it is not for sale. The painting has already been acquired for The Leiden Collection in New York, where it will join The Three Singers (Hearing) and Surgery (Touch). Museum De Lakenhal in Leiden is the owner of The Spectacle Peddler (Sight). The fifth and last painting in the series, representing taste, remains lost.