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Rembrandt is World's Costliest Painting

Nov. 18, 1961 - The world’s costliest painting, Rembrandt’s “Aristotle Contemplating the Bust of Homer,” went on view today at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Forty-two thousand persons went to see it and to pronounce their judgment on the work. Some gazed long and almost worshipfully; one stout, middle-aged woman merely glanced at it while finishing a pretzel. Rembrandt was paid 500 florins (about $7,800) for the painting, a handsome sum in 1653 and a helpful one because he had been on the edge of bankruptcy. The museum bought the painting at an auction Wednesday night. The final bid, $2,300,000, was the highest amount ever paid for any painting at a public or private sale. Many people repeated the price as they stood before the painting, and a woman said drily, “You’d think they’d spend that money for starving children.”


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