A ‘lost’ painting by a leading Dutch 19th-century artist is to go on display in Friesland after turning up on the UK’s Antiques Roadshow programme.
The portrait by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema was valued at between €230,000 and €350,000, making it the most valuable artwork ever to feature on the BBC show. It depicts the etcher Leopold Löwenstam, a friend of the artist, at work in his studio and was given to Löwenstam as a wedding gift in 1883.
‘I think this might be one of the best pictures we have ever seen on the Roadshow in its entire history,’ said the programme’s pictures expert Rupert Maas. ‘There are hardly any portraits of engravers at work at all, and this is one of the most telling and beautiful.’
The picture had not been seen in public since 1913 and was thought to have been lost until Löwenstam’s great-grandson brought it to the TV show to be valued. He was visibly shocked after hearing its worth but said he had no plans to sell it.
The work has been restored and loaned to the Fries Museum, where an exhibition of Alma-Tadema’s works is opening on October 1.
Alma-Tadema was born in the Frisian village of Donryp and lived in Belgium before moving to London at the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War. Three years later Queen Victoria made him and his wife British denizens.
He befriended, and was influenced by, the Pre-Raphaelite movement and became one of the most successful and highest earning artists of his day, but his works fell out of favour after his death until the late 20th century. In 2010 one of his largest pictures, The Finding of Moses, was sold at Sotheby’s in New York for $36 million, a record amount for a Victorian painting.
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