The more than 400-year-old Portrait of a Gentlemen by Flemish painter, Sir Peter Paul Rubens, was on display at the Irma Stern museum in Rosebank last week.
The artwork, which depicts a man wearing a crisp white ruff around his neck and a black coat is an original oil painting which, according to the Stephan Welz & Co auction house, could have been painted anywhere between 1598 and 1609.
In the past 400 years or so, the painting has made its way from went from south-west Belgium, to Amsterdam, London, Germany, and finally, South Africa when it was brought here by a Jewish doctor in 1925.
Since then it was passed down from generation to generation.
During August and September last year, Stephan Welz & Co, the University of Pretoria and the Dutch National Art Archives went about checking whether the painting was an original Rubens.
Earlier this month, on June 20 and 21, the painting was displayed at the Killarney Golf Club in Johannesburg, from where Luke Crossley, Stephan Welz & Co’s fine art specialist, transported the painting by air to Cape Town for its exhibition at the Irma Stern museum on Thursday and Friday June 28 and 29.
Apart from being made available for public viewing, the painting also went on auction through a seal commissioned bid which is similar to a silent auction, the only difference being that the bidders make their intention known to the art dealer only.
The painting valued between R5 million and R8 million, was sold, but neither the buyer nor the seller wanted the price to be disclosed.