Fairs News United Kingdom

Brueghel discovery has buyer at £6m

Nine potential bidders vied for the painting before the fair even opened

Pieter Brueghel the Younger, The Census at Bethlehem, around 1611

The Art Newspaper understands that a newly discovered painting by Pieter Brueghel the Younger—The Census at Bethlehem, around 1611, on Johnny Van Haeften’s stand at Frieze Masters (E4)—is under offer for £6m. Van Haeften says the painting was highly sought after, with nine potential buyers before the fair had even opened. The agent for one of them placed the bid as Frieze Masters opened its doors to VIPs at 3pm yesterday. The work has been owned by the same English family since an ancestor bought it directly from the artist for 200 florints. The family also had a receipt for the purchase, although this was unfortunately lost during the second half of the 20th century. The painting has never been seen in public and was unknown to scholars until now. It was reportedly discovered by Van Haeften during a trip to east Africa.

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