Venetian Canal Scene by Francesco Guardi Hits Auction Block

Francesco Guardi, Venice, the Bacino di San Marco with the Piazzetta and the Doge's Palace, circa early 1780s, oil on canvas.

A long-unseen masterpiece by Francesco Guardi (1712–1793) titled Venice, the Bacino di San Marco with the Piazzetta and the Doge’s Palace (circa early 1780s) will come up for auction at Christie’s, London on July 8. The painting, depicting an iconic view of the northern Italian city, was last publicly displayed in 1954, at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels. Originally owned by the Earls of Shaftesbury, it was purchased in the mid-19th century by Baron James-Edouard de Rothschild and has been owned by his descendants since his death in 1881. 

A Venetian native, Guardi painted this view of the lagoon repeatedly over the course of his career; it was a popular subject for patrons who had undertaken the “Grand Tour” of Italy. The two foot by three foot canvas captures the city in the early morning, including some of its best known landmarks: Saint Mark’s Basilica, the Doge’s Palace, and the Campanile.

A pre-sale estimate expects the work to fetch £8–10 million [US$13–16.5 million]. The painting will be include in a global tour of Guardi’s work that will precede the auction, beginning in Paris (March 3–4), before continuing on to Moscow (April 12–13), New York (May 2–6 May), Hong Kong (May 22–26) and London (July 5–8). 

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