Art: The Major

When the bidding reached £100,000 ($280,000), the bulky old gentleman in the puce-and-green-striped tie emitted a genteel "whew," and he blinked his eyes incredulously at every £10,000 jump thereafter. The work on sale last week at Sotheby's in London was his: Rembrandt's brooding St. Bartholomew, one of the most important Rembrandts still left in private hands. The final price of $532,000 fell well short of the $2,300,000 paid last fall by Manhattan's Metropolitan Museum of Art for Aristotle Contemplating the Bust of Homer; but still and all, the smaller (34 in. by 30 in.) and less ambitious St. Bartholomew had brought...

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