Gerrit Van Honthorst's A Merry Group breaks artist's auction record

Gerrit Van Honthorst's A Merry Group Behind a Balustrade with a Violin and a Lute Player headlined Sotheby's Old Master Paintings auction in New York on January 30.

It sold for $7.5m, an increase of 151% on a $3m estimate - shattering the artist's previous auction record of $3.3m, set last year at Christie's New York for The Duet.

Honthorst Merry Group Sothebys
Honthorst's Merry Group has only recently been rediscovered

Honthorst (1592-1656) was a Dutch painter feted for his exuberant representations of nocturnal scenes, which often feature revellers and musicians.

The Merry Group, thought to date to 1623-1624, is one of two known renditions of the same composition, with this example having been lost to scholars since 1838, when it was auctioned in France.

The Annunciation, a work by El Greco (1541-1614), made $5.8m.

A major artist of the Spanish renaissance, Domenikos Theotokopoulos to give him his full name, is today regarded as a visionary stylist, centuries ahead of his time.

His work prefigured modern art in the primacy of colour and composition over form and realism, a view that placed him at odds with some of the most powerful art critics of the era.

His work has been cited as an influence by some of the most important artists of the 20th century, including Picasso, whose Portrait of a Painter After El Greco (1950) reframes his Portrait of Jorge Manuel Theotocopoulos (1600-1605).

El Greco's auction record is set at £9.1m ($15m) for St Dominic in Prayer, which auctioned at Sotheby's London last year.

We have this postcard signed by Picasso for sale.

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