An anonymous Dutch Royal has commissioned Sotheby’s in London and New York to sell a number of works of art from the collection of King William II of Netherlands (1792-1849). Sotheby’s is a British founded American multi-national with its headquarter in New York City. It is one of the world’s largest brokers of fine and decorative art, real estates, jewelry and collectibles. William and his wife Anna put together huge collections of paintings and drawings including the works by Raphael, Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci, Rembrandt and Ruben.
The most important object of the sale which comprises of drawings, Chinese porcelain, table wear and silver is a drawing by Peter Paul Rubens of a young man a preliminary study for an altar piece in the cathedral of Our Lady in Antwerp. The drawing is said to be “property of a princess” as it graced the wall of New York apartment of Princess Christina, former Queen Beatrix’ youngest sister, in the 1980s.
Peter Rubens was a Flemish artist and is still considered the most influential artist of the Flemish Baroque tradition. He specialized in making altar pieces, portraits, landscapes and history paintings of mythological and religious subjects. In his drawings which are without great detail, he made use of oil sketches, wooden panels, and canvas. For the alter pieces he would paint on slate in order to reduce reflection problems.
William wanted the collections of works to be made public property but the proposal was voted down by parliament. This is not the first time his collection of works is selling, in 1850, following William’s death, dozens of drawings by Raphael, Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci were sold along with 192 paintings by old masters including five of them by Rembrandt. The anonymous royal could gain 3.5million euro from the sale of the drawing.