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The late Oliver Millar, another co-author of the 2004 catalogue raisonné, dismissed the work as “possibly a very early copy”. When the self-portrait was put up for sale at Lempertz in Cologne on , it was described as a “copy after Van Dyck”.
The auction house estimated its value at €30,000 to €40,000.
It is not known exactly how this picture found its way to France in the 17th century, but we do know that Countess Du Barry acquired it for her chateau at Louveciennes and later sold it to Louis XVI, who would suffer the same fate as Charles I.
I believe Sir Oliver was perhaps also misled by the gold chain, thinking that chain was that given to Van Dyck by King Charles I, and that the portrait must therefore be an English-period work (that is, in the section of the catalogue that he was responsible for), dating to after 1632 - when Van Dyck's technique was rather different.
The work is particularly important because it is the self-portrait by which Van Dyck wanted to be remembered.
The artist produced an etching of the image in 1630 for the frontispiece of his book Iconography.
Martin Bailey writes: A self-portrait by Van Dyck that was dismissed a decade ago as a copy is now hanging in the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minnesota, as an original work.
The painting, which has been authenticated by experts, was quietly put on display in February, having been lent by a US collector based on the West Coast.