A Sketch for Saint Jerome from 1615-18 by Anthony Van Dyck that was discovered in the late 20th century in a farm shed in Kinderhook, N.Y., fetched US$3.075 million at a Sotheby’s auction last week in New York.
Considered lost for centuries, the painting was purchased by the late collector Albert B. Roberts at an auction in 2002 for just US$600, according to Sotheby’s. Roberts then sought the help of art historian and Van Dyck scholar Susan J. Barnes, who confirmed the sketch was a “surprisingly well-preserved” work by Van Dyck.
Roberts died in August 2021 at the age of 89. A portion of proceeds from the sale will benefit his namesake foundation, which supports artists and other creatives.
“Not only is the story of its journey from a farm shed in Kinderhook to the rostrum at Sotheby’s irresistible, it is also a highly important early work by the teenage Van Dyck, completed while he was still under the tutelage of [Peter Paul] Rubens,” Christopher Apostle, Sotheby’s head of Old Master paintings in New York, said in a statement.
The auction house declined to disclose the identity of the buyer.
Last week’s Old Masters sale at Sotheby’s was headlined by a 1609 painting by Rubens, Salome, depicting the head of Saint John the Baptist. Offered from the collection of Mark Fisch, a real estate developer and a trustee of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and his ex-wife, Rachel Davidson, a former New Jersey judge, the masterpiece fetched US$26.9 million, the third-highest price for the artist at auction.
The 10 Baroque masterworks from Fisch Davidson collection brought in a total of US$49.6 million in a white-glove auction.
Sotheby’s Master Week sale—which is poised to break a record of US$100 million— continues throughout this week. One highlight will be a Kobe Bryant game-worn Lakers jersey, which will be offered on Wednesday with an estimate between US$5 million and US$7 million.