Two Canaletto Venice paintings make $15.6m at Sotheby's London

Two paintings by Giovanni Antonio Canal, also known as Canaletto, made a combined £9.6m ($15.6m) at Sotheby's London on December 4.

Titled Venice, A View of the Piazza San Marco Looking East towards the Basilica and the Campanile, and A View of the Grand Canal and the Rialto Bridge, the two works sold as a single lot at the Old Masters evening sale.

Canaletto double Sotheby's
A View of the Grand Canal and the Rialto Bridge

Both date to 1738-1742, a time when Canaletto was at the apex of his abilities as a painter. He was considered the finest view painter of his era during his lifetime, with royals and nobility competing for his work.

Alex Bell, joint international head and co-chairman of Sotheby's old master paintings department, commented prior to the sale: "Canaletto was one of the rare artists of his time to have an international reputation.

"He was an unrivalled source of inspiration to his peers and his works were sought after by the greatest European collectors.

"Almost three centuries later, his universal appeal endures, and today his oeuvre is appreciated by an ever growing audience."

Canaletto San Marco Sotheby's
Venice, A View of the Piazza San Marco Looking East towards the Basilica and the Campanile

The sale failed to match Canaletto's auction record, which was set at £18.6m ($30.1m) for Grand Canal from Palazzo Balbi to the Rialto at Sotheby's London in 2005.

In total the auction achieved sales of £33.5m ($54.9m) and featured work by Rosetti, Rubens and Frans Hals, among others.

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Images: Sotheby's

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