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Canaletto Scene of London coming to Auction – UPDATED with sale results

August 5, 2012

Giovanni Antonio Canal, il Canaletto (Venice 1697-1768), London: New Horse Guards from St James’s Park, oil on panel, 58.5 x 110 cm, €2,000,000 – 3,000,000. This lot failed to sell.

The auction houses are beginning to send out teasers for their fall sales and in mid-October Dorotheum (via ArtDaily) will be offering a Canaletto scene of London.  According to Dorotheum’s announcement:

New Horse Guards from St James’s Park by Canaletto, a rare view of the London landmark under construction in 1753, will be sold by one of Europe’s largest auction houses, Dorotheum in Vienna, in a sale of Old Master Paintings on Wednesday 17 October 2012 when it is estimated to fetch €2-3 million. In the foreground of the painting is Horse Guards Parade where traditionally monarchs take the salute at the Trooping the Colour ceremony on their official birthday. This vast parade ground has recently become more familiar throughout the world for being the 2012 Olympic venue for beach volley ball.

The painting is an important historical record documenting 18th century London and, arguably, the most English of the paintings Canaletto executed during his time in England from 1746 to 1755. He had many English patrons including the Duke of Richmond and on his arrival his reputation was already widespread from the works acquired by English Grand Tourists in Venice . Art historians often claim that Canaletto saw England through Venetian eyes, however, this work has an essentially English feel with its diffused atmospheric light which anticipates the works of later English artists such as Turner.

Giovanni Antonio Canal, called il Canaletto (1697-1768), painted some 40 works during his English stay, many of which remain in the aristocratic collections for which they were originally commissioned while others are in the National Gallery, London, the National Maritime Museum and the collection of HM The Queen. This work, one of only three known paintings for which Canaletto used panel support, is closely related to the celebrated painting, The Old Horse Guards from St James’s Park, 1749, in The Andrew Lloyd Webber Art Foundation, and the drawing of The Old Horse Guards from St James’s Park in the British Museum. The latter shares details with this composition, especially the groups of figures in the foreground, and the beating of a carpet on the right.

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