Friday, December 18, 2009

Last Week Casino Owner Stephen Wynn Paid $33.2 Million for a Rembrandt

photo courtesy Christie’s
Portrait of a Man, Half-Length, With His Arms Akimbo
421⁄4" x 341⁄4" oil on canvas 1658

Carol Vogel in the New York Times reports that the mystery buyer of Rembrandt's Portrait of a Man, Half-Length, With His Arms Akimbo at Christie's last week was casino mogul Stephen Wynn. The $33.2 million is a record for a Rembrandt at auction. The painting has an interesting recent provenance and after its donation by George Huntington Hartford II hung in the President's office at Columbia University in New York for ten years from 1958 to 1968.

My hope is that Stephen Wynn will put the painting on public display in the near future. After closing his private gallery at the Wynn hotel, Las Vegas lost an intimate collection of important paintings. I enjoyed the Wynn collection immensely and as a non-gambler I was intrigued with the mix of great art within the glowing and at times tawdry Vegas of American pop culture.

photo courtesy Reuters

On a related note, currently at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles is an interesting exhibit: Drawings by Rembrandt and His Pupils: Telling the Difference which runs from December 8, 2009–February 28, 2010. Rembrandt's mark-making is extraordinary and the collection of his drawings from around the globe is not to be missed. My detailed thoughts will be posted next week.

Photography © The Art Institute of Chicago
Seated Female Nude
pen and brown ink and brush and brown wash; corrected with white gouache about 1660
The Art Institute of Chicago, the Clarence Buckingham Collection

More at:
Rembrandt Drawings at the Getty
Wynn Pays Record Price for Rembrandt Portrait

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