Van Dyck Rare Drawing Could Sell for $1.2 Million at Christie’s

Van Dyck Drawing, That Is Rare and Recently Discovered, Could Possibly Fetch a Record $1.2 Million at Christie's.

Dec 21, 2023By Angela Davic, News, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and Analysis
Van Dyck
Via Wikipedia.


Van Dyck rare drawing, a piece of his renowned portrait series, will go up for auction at Christie’s New York. There is a possibility of the piece fetching $800,000 to $1.2 million. Also, if the piece sells for its estimated price, it will smash the Flemish artist’s previous auction standard. Dyck’s half-length inquiry, Portrait of Willem Hondius (c. 17th century), originated as a print and etching replication.


Highest Estimate for the Recently Uncovered Piece

Van Dyck
Portrait of Willem Hondius. Photo: © Christie’s Images Limited 2023.


His “Iconography” series, a sizable collection of prints, showcased the leading artists of the day. It showed people from many backgrounds: from artists to poets (Hondius himself was a Dutch engraver), and further established Van Dyck as a portraitist. “These prints really enabled Van Dyck to disseminate his ideas for portraiture”, Stijn Alsteens of Christie’s Old Master Drawings Dept department said.


“I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that Van Dyck was the most consequential and influential of 17th-century portraitists”, he also added. Portrait of Willem Hondius will apper at the auction house’s Old Master and British Drawings sale on February 1, 2024. The auction house hopes to break the artist’s prior mark of $800,000.


jesus holy spirit, van dyck
The Descent of the Holy Spirit, by Anthony Van Dyck, 1618-1620, via Art Bible


This is another illustration from the collection, which unfolds in 1985 at Christie’s. Also, 2019 saw Christie’s sell yet another work by Van Dyck. This piece earned $269,490, far surpassing its estimate. Although the Williem Hondius print was publicly available, Alsteen had not seen the design behind it until a few months ago. At that time, its rightful proprietor got in touch with him.

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A Rare Piece

Christie’s American branch at Rockefeller Center in New York. Via Wikipedia


“I was a little bit doubtful”, he said about the drawing’s existence. “I think mainly because it looks too good to be true”. But seeing the piece in person quickly dispelled such suspicions. Even if drawings are technically simple—they are pen, wash, and chalk on paper so they don’t have the kind of layering you see in a painting—there is something different about seeing the original, a more alive image. I was just incredibly happy to see a drawing of this quality and rarity in my hands”.


Christie’s claims that in the eighteenth century, a well-known Swedish miniature artist in Paris purchased the piece. After a while, the object returned to Sweden and was paid a tiny amount to a relative of the consignor. Of the 40 to 50 extant drawings from Van Dyck’s portrait series. All of which are at the Art Institute of Chicago, L.A.’s Getty Museum, and the British Museum—Willem Hondius is the last one in private hands.


Christie’s in King Street, St James’s, via Wikimedia Commons


“There’s only been two drawings related to the same series of prints that have been on the market in the last century”, said Alsteen. “For its condition and rarity, it should do better than any drawing by Van Dyck we’ve ever seen”.









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By Angela DavicNews, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and AnalysisAngela is a journalism student at the Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade and received a scholarship for continued education in Prague. She completed her internship at the daily newspaper DANAS and worked as an executive editor at Talas.