$42.9m Francesco Guardi masterpiece is the 'most expensive sold this year'
Last night (July 6) Sotheby's completed its Old Master & British Paintings Evening with a flourish, as the last lot to be offered, Francesco Guardi's Venice, a view of the Rialto Bridge, looking north, from the Fondamenta del Carbon sold for a stunning £26.7m ($42.9m).

Sotheby's quickly claimed that this was the most expensive painting to be sold by an international auction house so far this year. It certainly beats their great rival Christie's sale of a George Stubbs painting just a day earlier for $35.9m.

Painted by the Venetian artist in the 1760s, it is one of a set of four related works for which the artist is most celebrated. It was certainly expected to be the top lot any way with an estimate of £150m-250m, but it sneaked past even that.

Venice, a view of the Rialto Bridge, looking north, from the Fondamenta del Carbon
Venice, a view of the Rialto Bridge, looking north
from the Fondamenta del Carbon

The Guardi buyer remains anonymous, as did the winning bidder for the next lot down, which was Madonna and Child with infant St John the Baptist by Antonio Allegri (Correggio). That sold for £3.6m ($5.2m), easily beating its £2m-3m listing.

The remainder of the top 10 were sold to a mix of US, UK and European bidders, both dealers and private collectors, except for another, less celebrated, Guardi: The Piazza San Marco with the Basilica and Campanile. We might guess that that went to the same anonymous collector.

In total the auction achieved a total of £47.6m ($76.5m) for the 73 lots with 91.6% sold by value.

 

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