NEW YORK, 30 January 2019 – Moments ago in Sotheby’s New York salesroom, Sir Peter Paul Rubens’s Nude Study of Young Man with Raised Arms – one of the most important drawings by the iconic artist to appear on the open market in over 50 years – sold for $8.2 million after intense competition between two bidders during this morning’s sale of Old Master Drawings. Today’s price more than doubled the work’s high estimate of $3.5 million, and established a new world auction record for a drawing by the artist.*
This powerful drawing formerly belonged to King William II of the Netherlands and his wife Anna Pavlovna, who together amassed one of the finest collections formed anywhere in Europe in the 19th century. While many of the works they owned now reside in major museums, both in the Netherlands and around the world, this drawing was among those that passed down privately through the family.
Gregory Rubinstein, Head of Sotheby’s Old Master Drawings Department, commented: “Created at such an important moment in the artist’s life, there was a real sense of immediacy to this drawing – a sense of looking over the artist’s shoulder as he works. It’s been a real privilege to spend time with this drawing, which has captivated the imagination of all who saw it.”