Two paintings by Canaletto that have been owned by a succession of bankers are estimated to sell for as much as $19.5m at auction.
Bloomberg reports that the identically sized views of the St. Mark’s Square and the Rialto Bridge in Venice dating from between 1738 and 1742 have been entered as one lot by HSBC's corporate art collection into Sotheby’s on 4th December Old Masters sale in London, the auction house said today in an e-mailed release.
Canaletto (1697-1768) was the most famous view-painter of 18th-century Venice. Always prized by wealthy collectors, his works have attracted demand from Russian and Asian bidders at recent auctions, pushing up prices, dealers said.
'Russians like hanging old pictures on their walls, which sets them apart from most other nationalities', the London-based dealer Charles Beddington said in an interview. 'These paintings are pretty nice examples from a popular period and they’re not highly priced', said Beddington, who curated the 2010-2011 exhibition, “Venice: Canaletto and his Rivals,” at the National Gallery in London.
The ex-HSBC canvases have a low estimate of $12.98m, based on hammer prices. The valuation is less than the $13.8m with fees that was paid for the single Canaletto, The Molo, Venice, From the Bacino di San Marco, at Christie’s International in London in July.
The paintings were owned in the 18th century by the self-made English banker John Furnell Tuffen.
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image: © Elliott Brown