Sotheby’s announces two major Canalettos for its December Old Master sale in London:
these majestic canvases depict two of the most celebrated of Canaletto’s Venetian subjects: the Rialto Bridge over the Grand Canal and St. Mark’s Square. Coming from HSBC’s Corporate Art Collection, the two works will be offered as a pair in the Old Master Paintings Evening Sale, with an estimate of £8-12 million.
Bloomberg fills in more of the details here:
“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 8 million pounds, based on hammer prices. The valuation is less than the 8.5 million pounds 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.
They were bought by Edmond Safra, founder of Safra Republic Holdings SA, for 3.9 million pounds at Sotheby’s in London in 1997. The Geneva-based bank holding company and its assets — which included these Canalettos — were sold by Safra to HSBC in 1999. The Lebanese-born billionaire died in a house fire in Monaco in the same year.