Two extremely rare paintings by Rembrandt that have not been seen by the public for nearly 200 years have been discovered in a private collection in the U.K.
The paintings by the 17th-century Dutch master are the “last known pair of portraits by Rembrandt to remain in private hands,” Christie’s, which will auction off the portraits in July, announced in a press release. The pair is valued at an estimated $6.25 million to $10 million.
According to Christie’s, the 8-inch portraits, which depict an elderly couple that were related to the artist, have a “virtually unbroken line of provenance.” After being completed in 1635, they stayed in the family until 1760. The paintings were in various private collections until Christie’s auctioned them in 1824. Since then, they have remained in the same private collection.
Henry Pettifer, International Deputy Chairman, Old Master Paintings, discovered the rare paintings during a routine valuation of a private collection, The Financial Times reported.
“I wasn’t aware of what I was going to be seeing,” Henry Pettifer told FT.
“This is one of the most exciting discoveries we have made in the Old Masters field in recent years,” Pettifer said, per Christie’s. “Painted with a deep sense of humanity, these are amongst the smallest and most intimate portraits that we know by Rembrandt, adding something new to our understanding of him as a portraitist of undisputed genius.”
After being unseen by the public for 199 years, the paintings will be on display in New York and Amsterdam in June before being auctioned on July 6, according to CNN.