Canaletto's New Horse Guards painting to beat artist's $1.9m record?

A Vienna auction of old master paintings will offer Canaletto's New Horse Guards from St James's Park on October 17.

Canaletto New Horse Guards from St James Park
Horse Guards is now serving as the Olympic beach volleyball venue

The piece is one of 40 works created by Giovanni Antonio Canal, better known as il Canaletto, during his stay in England between 1746 and 1755. By this time the artist had already gained many English patrons and his reputation in England was widespread from the works purchased by wealthy travellers while undertaking the traditional Grand Tour.

The work at auction is an important historical record that documents the construction of the new Horse Guards building in London, following the demolition of the old building in 1749. Created in 1753, the painting shows scaffolding around the clock tower with the south wing still not built, in a view from the renowned St James's Park that captures 18th century English life.

The Horse Guards building is traditionally where England's monarchs take the salute at the Trooping the Colour ceremony on their official birthday. It is currently the venue for 2012's Olympic beach volleyball tournament.

A widely published and exhibited piece, having been displayed at the 2006 Canaletto exhibition of London's Dulwich Picture Gallery and the Yale Centre for British Art, the painting at auction is considered one of Canaletto's finest works and will sell with a €2m-3m estimate.

The current world record for a Canaletto work at auction was set just last month, when his previously unrecorded depiction of Venice sold for $1.9m, achieving a 294.4% increase on the previous record. With the estimate set by the auction house far surpassing this, and considering the current popularity of old master works at auction, New Horse Guards from St James's Park looks set to become the new record holder.

Be sure to check back with Paul Fraser Collectibles for the results of this exciting sale.

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