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Old Masters


by Paul Jeromack
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Congratulations to curator Arthur K. Wheelock, Jr., of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., for the museum's purchase of a beautiful Portrait of a gentleman in a brown doublet and ruff by the 17th-century Dutch master Thomas de Keyser at Christie’s New York sale of Old Master paintings on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012. Bidding via the phone, the Gallery outdid formidable competition from London dealer Jonathan Green and New York dealer Otto Naumann, paying a record price of $1,250,000 at the hammer ($1,482,500 with premium, est. $ 300,000-$500,000).

Despite the fact that de Keyser was one of the most fashionable portrait painters in Amsterdam, his works are seldom encountered on the market. Signed in monogram “TDK” and dated 1627, the small, perfectly preserved (11 x 9 in.) octagonal painting on copper is the first picture by de Keyser to enter the National Gallery. Once freed of a thick yellow varnish, it will be placed on view in the museum’s Dutch Cabinet Picture Gallery.

PAUL JEROMACK is a New York critic and journalist.