Frans Francken sells for €7.02m World Record

Frans Francken's opulent canvas of heaven and hell, Man Choosing between Virtue and Vice became a triumphant success when sold at €7,022,300.

The result signifies the highest price ever achieved by an Old Master painting at auction in Austria and a new world record price for this artist.

The winner of the dramatic bidding contest was the London Old Masters Dealer, Johnny Van Haeften.

In his museum-quality painting, Frans Francken II (Antwerp 1581-1642) depicts - with consummate skill - the struggle of the human soul torn between virtue and vice on its journey to heaven or hell.

Frans Francken II. (1581 - 1642) Man choosing between Virtue and Vice

Francken's exceptionally large and many-figured composition gives inspired form to a marriage between ancient mythology and Christian salvation myth.

After decades in a German private collection, the painting is considered to be the re-discovered main work by this scion of a dynasty of Flemish painters whose works already grace some of the world's major museums.

The singular auction success at Dorotheum did not come entirely unexpectedly as the painting had generated considerable international interest and bidder anticipation in advance of the event itself.


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