Long-Lost Rembrandt Painting Found in NJ Couple’s Basement Sold for 4 million in Auction


A family who thought nothing of a painting that sat on their grandparents’ dining room wall for decades couldn’t believe their luck when the same piece of art sold for more than a million dollars at an auction where they learned it was a Rembrandt.

Brothers Ned, Roger and Steven Landau from Teaneck, New Jersey were cleaning out their mother’s home who had recently passed away and were looking for items to raise some cash as they divided up her estate.

It wasn’t until the strange painting was sold at auction that Nye and the Landaus found out what they had –  a long lost, million-dollar Rembrandt. “We had a garage sale, but there were a few things like the china and silver that looked very nice and we thought, well, we don’t really want to just give them away,” Ned.

John and Kathy Nye of Nye & Company Auctioneers display the Rembrandt painting found in the basement of a Bloomfield home. The artwork fetched $1.1 million. (Photo courtesy of John Nye)

“It was a wall painting and it never looked like much,” Roger Landau said Tuesday. “My parents had larger paintings that we considered much more valuable.” The painting, which depicts two men attempting to revive a woman, made Ned Landau uncomfortable.

“The Unconscious Patient (An Allegory of the Sense of Smell)” is was one of five in a series painted by Rembrandt as a teenager.

When the painting was cleaned up, Rembrandt’s monogram became visible, Nye said. Turns out Rembrandt painted the piece as a teenager in the 1620s. It was called “The Unconscious Patient (An Allegory of the Sense of Smell)” and was one of five highlighting the human senses and the only one monogrammed by the artist, Nye said.

Gallery owner Bertrand Gautier shows the Rembrandt titled “The Unconscious Patient (Sense of Smell)” dated at around 1624-25, in Maastricht, southern Netherlands, Thursday, March 10, 2016. (AP Photo/Mike Corder)

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Long-Lost Rembrandt Painting Found in NJ Couple’s Basement Sold for 4 million in Auction

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