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
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.
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.
Get the latest articles delivered to your inboxSign up to our Free Weekly Newsletter
A Rare Piece
“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.
“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”.