Rare Rembrandt Sells for $25.8M

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NEW YORK (AP) -- A rare late work by Rembrandt depicting the Apostle James in prayer was sold Thursday for $25.8 million, the auction house said.

''Saint James the Greater,'' painted by the artist in 1661, was described by the vice chairman of Sotheby's Old Master paintings, George Wachter, as one of the most important Rembrandt works ever handled by Sotheby's.

''Over the past 20 years, the vast majority of pictures by the artist that have appeared on the market have dated to the 1630s and '40s,'' Wachter said. ''It is exceedingly rare to have one that dates to the 1660s. Works of this period, the last decade of Rembrandt's life and a time of personal turmoil, are extremely intense, soulful and introspective.''

The painting, which had a presale estimate of $18 million to $25 million, was purchased by an anonymous telephone bidder, Sotheby's said. The price includes the buyer's premium.

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