Canaletto's rare London painting will see $6m in New York

A rare view of London by Canaletto will provide the highlight of Sotheby's Old Master Week sales, beginning on January 24.

Canaletto London Horse Guards
Canaletto did not spend much time in London, making this piece a rare opportunity for collectors

The work is part of a group of 17 paintings from the esteemed collection  of JE Safra, which display a range of styles including Dutch Golden Age and 18th Century Italian and French. With the selection expected to total around $22m-34m, Canaletto's London piece is valued at $4m-6m.

Canaletto moved to London in May 1746, transferring his studio from Venice in pursuit of fresh landscapes. Many of his major patrons were English enthusiasts undertaking the Grand Tour (the traditional trip for young upper-class men around Europe), but they had been deterred from visiting Italy by the war of the Austrian succession in 1740.

The work is entitled A View of the Old Horse Guards and Banqueting Hall, Whitehall seen from St. James' Park, and is thought to date to 1749, at which point the red brick Horse Guards had been condemned. Here, Canaletto has preserved the original architecture in superb detail.

Following the Canaletto piece is Giovanni Paolo Panini's Rome, The Pantheon, which is the earliest dated view of the interior of the famous Roman monument. Offering what Sotheby's describes as "a broad spectrum of the social tapestry of Rome in 1732", the work is valued at $3m-5m.

Also starring in the January sales is Frozen River at Sunset by Dutch landscape artist Aert van der Neer. Painted in 1660, the work hails from a time when Dutch landscape painting, and Van der Neer's career, was at its pinnacle, warranting a $4-6m estimate.

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