The half-length portrait of a young woman is estimated at £4m-6m at the Classic Art Evening Sale: Antiquity to 20th Century which takes place on July 29.
The catalogue description published by Christie's states it was possibly commissioned by Vincenzo I Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua (1562-1612), for his ‘Gallery of Beauties’.
The private vendor bought the picture in 1986. It was offered for sale at a Sotheby’s auction in December 2009, when it also had an estimate of £4m-6m, but was unsold.
When asked about the attribution to Rubens, Henry Pettifer, Christie’s head of Old Masters, said it had “broad academic support from key scholars at the Centruum Rubenianum and the Rubenhuis, confirming the portrait as a fully autograph work from Rubens’s Italian period”.
Sotheby’s is also selling a portrait of a lady which has been catalogued as a fully-ascribed work by Sir Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640). Estimated at £2.5m-3.5m, it will be offered at the cross-category evening auction on July 28 – a sale branded Rembrandt to Richter.
Christie's rescheduled series of Classic Week sales comprises 12 auctions: eight online sales and four live auctions. The series culminates with this evening sale on July 29. Another highlight of the July 29 sale is a prayer book that belonged to Mary Queen of Scots.