Star power: Liz Taylor's painting by Frans Hals brings $2.1 million
There's nothing quite like the power of a major name to boost the value of a painting, and Christie's benefited from two Wednesday in selling a 17th-century Dutch portrait of an unknown man for roughly $2.1 million.
Yes, the identity of the bearded subject of the painting, who appears to be merchant class, remains a mystery. But the last owner was known to be Liz Taylor (shown above with the painting in 1957 with third husband Mike Todd). And the painting itself, which in the 1970s had been knocked down in status to "school of" or "student of" Frans Hals, was recently reattributed to the master himself.
Ergo, the work sold for nearly $2.1 million to an unidentified phone bidder -- more than two times its official auction house estimate and easily 20 times what it would have likely brought had it had no celebrity associations, with artist or entertainer, and still been classed as a "school of" work.
-- Jori Finkel
Image: In 1957, Elizabeth Taylor and Michael Todd, right, present a loan of Frans Hals' "Portrait of a Man" to Richard Brown, chief curator at LACMA. Credit: Los Angeles Times