Francesco Guardi painting tops Christie’s sale

A work by Francesco Guardi (1712-1793) soared to £26.2m ($33.8m) at Christie’s London last night.

That’s the biggest result for an old master painting this year.

Guardi Venice Rialto

Guardi's work was originally bought by an English noble in 1768

Titled Venice: The Rialto Bridge with the Palazzo dei Camerlenghi, it’s a classic from one of the last of the great Venetian view painters.

It has been sold just once before, in 1891, when it made £3,950 ($5,087).

That means it’s achieved healthy growth of 7.2% per annum over the past 126 years - the definition of a long-term investment...

Henry Pettifer, head of old master paintings at Christie’s, said: “The Rialto Bridge with the Palazzo dei Camerlenghi is the most expensive Old Master painting since the sale of Rubens’s Lot and his Daughters this time last year.

“It continues the momentum in the Old Masters field at Christie's and proves once again the global appetite for the very best works of art.”

That was by far the biggest result of the sale, which realised £43.8m ($56.6m) overall.

Giandomenico Tiepolo’s The Minuet (circa 1757-1762) achieved £3m ($3.8m) against a £2.5m ($3.2m) valuation.

Tiepelo also originates from Venice and would have been working around the same time as Guardi.

This work is one of a series of canvases that show rural dance scenes.  

Sotheby’s old masters sale on Wednesday saw JMW Turner’s Ehrenbreitstein (1835) achieve £18.5m ($23.9m).

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