A lost oil painting by the Italian master Canaletto will go up for auction for £150,000 after being discovered hanging in the drawing room of an English home.
The 18ins by 12ins oil on canvas work depicts the famous Dogna da Mar building from the San Marco basin in Venice – but it has been ‘lost’ for more than 100 years.
It was purchased in
The late owner, who died recently, inherited it more than 50 years ago and proudly displayed it on the wall of her detached house in Lewes, East Sussex, after moving into the home in 1970.
The 18ins by 12ins oil on canvas work depicts the famous Dogna da Mar building from the San Marco basin in Venice – but it has been ‘lost’ for more than 100 years
Although the owner was aware that the painting was in fact a work of Italian artist Canaletto, she decided against selling it during her lifetime, and it remained hung in her drawing room.
But her descendants have decided to part with the painting after an expert for Gorringes Auctions of Lewes spotted it on the wall during a routine valuation of antiques.
The small piece of artwork has been given a pre-sale estimate of £150,000 and will go on auction on September 28.
Philip Taylor, of Gorringes, said it was an incredibly rare chance for somebody to buy an original Canaletto.
He said: ‘Bearing in mind fully worked up larger paintings by the artist sell for millions, this is an opportunity for a collector to buy a Canaletto at a relatively affordable price.
It was purchased in London in 1920 for around £100, which would now equal around £5,000, by the mother of the late owner, who died recently. Pictured: Name of artist on the reverse
The back of the canvas is inscribed with the name of Auguste Chatelain (pictured), a 19th century Swiss psychiatrist who is known to have owned at least one other work by Canaletto
‘They just don’t turn up on the market. I have been in the business for 50 years and have never come across one before.’
The unsigned painting is thought to have been produced during Canaletto’s mature period before he moved to London in the mid-18th century.
Because of its size, Mr Taylor believes it may have been a practice for a larger work by Canaletto.
The back of the canvas is inscribed with the name of Auguste Chatelain, a 19th century Swiss psychiatrist and historian who is known to have owned at least one other similar work by Canaletto.
It also has a label on the reverse for the Mayfair art dealer Arthur Tooth and Sons, where the late owner’s mother originally bought the painting 101 years ago.
It also has a label on the reverse for the Mayfair art dealer Arthur Tooth and Sons, where the late owner’s mother originally bought the painting 101 years ago
The small piece of artwork (reverse pictured) has been given a pre-sale estimate of £150,000 and will go on auction on September 28
Mr Taylor said: ‘The late owner had inherited it from her mother who paid a not modest sum for it in 1920.
‘Her daughter bought the house in Lewes in 1970 and hung it in a prominent position in the drawing room.
‘We found it on a routine valuation at the deceased’s large detached property.
‘The family certainly knew who the artist was and we are confidently attributing the work fully to Canaletto.
‘We are expecting great interest for a work by a celebrated artist that is fresh to the market after 100 years.’
Canaletto the meticulous painter: 1697 – 1768
Giovanni Antonio Canal, known as Canaletto, was born in Venice, the son of a theatrical scene painter
Giovanni Antonio Canal, known as Canaletto, was born in Venice, the son of a theatrical scene painter.
He was very influential, famed for his precisely depicted and evocative views of the city (vedute).
Canaletto’s early pictures for local patrons are his most accomplished: these carefully designed, individual, and atmospheric studies include ‘The Stonemason’s Yard’.
He found that providing formulaic paintings for tourists was very lucrative.
These, still highly skilled works, were produced by him often in collaboration with an organised workshop.
They usually record the lavish Venetian public ceremonies, as in ‘Regatta on the Grand Canal’.
Canaletto was favoured by English collectors.
He visited England repeatedly between 1746-56, painting works like ‘Eton College’.
His most important assistant was his nephew Bellotto, who became an accomplished artist.
Canaletto often made meticulous preparatory drawings.
He may have used a camera obscura for topographical accuracy in creating some of his designs, but he always remained concerned with satisfying compositional design, not simply slavishly recording views.
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