Page last updated at 10:36 GMT, Friday, 18 September 2009 11:36 UK

High expectations for Rembrandt

Rembrandt's Portrait of a Man, Half-Length With his Arms Akimbo (detail)
One of the most admired Old Masters, Rembrandt was born in Leiden in 1606

A painting by the artist Rembrandt is expected to fetch a record £25m when it goes to auction in London this winter.

The artwork, entitled Portrait Of A Man, Half-Length, With His Arms Akimbo, was painted in 1658 and has not been seen in public for almost 40 years.

Christie's have given the portrait a pre-sale estimate of £18-25m. The previous auction record for a Rembrandt is £19.8m, set in London in 2000.

Auctioneer Richard Knight promised "a landmark auction" on 8 December.

"We look forward to welcoming international collectors and institutions from around the world to what will be a landmark auction in the history of the European art market," he said.

Private collection

A good sale would serve as an indication of the recovery of the art market, which has suffered during the recent global recession.

The Rembrandt painting was last sold at auction in 1930 for £18,500. In the 1950s, it was donated to Columbia University in the US - before being sold again, to a private collector, in 1974.

It is one of only two works known to have been painted by the Dutch artist in 1658, the other being a Self-Portrait in New York's Frick Museum.

It was last seen in public in 1970 at the Rembrandt After 300 Years exhibition in Detroit.

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