The Grand Canal on a Grand Scale: Guardi at Sotheby’s on July 6

Posted in Art Market by Editor on July 1, 2011

Press release from Sotheby’s:

Francesco Guardi, "Venice, a View of the Rialto Bridge, Looking North, from the Fondamenta del Carbon," oil on canvas, 45¼ by 78½ inches.

Guardi’s Venice, a View of the Rialto Bridge, Looking North, from the Fondamenta del Carbon, estimated at £15-25 million, is the centrepiece of the sale. This dramatic, atmospheric evocation of 18th-century Venice measures an impressive 115 by 199.5cm (45¼ by 78½ in) and is one of four works that Guardi painted on this grand scale, all executed in the late 1760s, which together constitute the pinnacle of his output as a painter of vedute. Generally considered to be Guardi’s greatest works, they are the first and fullest expression of the artist’s mature style. The oil on canvas has an exceptional provenance, having been sold just once since it was first acquired in Venice in 1768 by the English Grand Tourist, Chaloner Arcedeckne and then passed by inheritance from Arcedeckne until 1891. Throughout its existence, the painting has almost always hung in private. It has been on loan for a short period recently to the Iveagh Bequest at Kenwood House in London, but before that, has only been on show twice in its long history. . . .

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In addition to several impressive seventeenth-century paintings, there’s this pair of peculiar pictures attributed to Giandomenico Tiepolo:

Attributed to Giandomenico Tiepolo are two highly distinctive, majestic depictions of polar bears – possibly the first individual depictions of the animals in Italian art. Believed to be designed as overdoors, the spectacular pair – oils on canvas with gold ground – is estimated at £400,000-600,000.

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Sales results (updated 7 July 2011), from a Sotheby’s press release:

Guardi’s Monumental Veduta Beats Estimates to Top $42.8 Million

Tonight Sotheby’s London Old Master & British Paintings Evening Sale was led by Francesco Guardi’s monumental masterpiece Venice, a View of the Rialto Bridge, Looking North, from the Fondamenta del Carbon, which established the highest price of the week of London Old Master Sales when it sold for an astonishing £26,697,250/$42,865,105/ €29,834,146 (est. £15-25 million). Achieving a record as the second highest price for any Old Master Painting sold at auction, a record for any Venetian view painting at auction, as well as a record for the artist’s work, the painting was sought after by two determined bidders and finally sold to an anonymous telephone bidder. Overall the sale achieved a total of £47,640,900/$76,492,229/ €53,238,651 (pre-sale est. £31,110,000-48,120,000), with an average lot value for the works sold of £952,818 million. The sale was 68.5% sold by lot and 91.6% sold by value. . . .

And in case you were wondering, the bears attributed to Giandomenico Tiepolo fell comfortably in their estimate range, selling for £469,250.

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