Lot 69
  • 69

Francesco Guardi

200,000 - 300,000 USD
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  • Francesco Guardi
  • Venice, a view of the Piazzetta looking towards San Giorgio Maggiore
  • oil on canvas


Mr. and Mrs. Jacques Doucet, Paris;
His sale, Paris, George Petit, 6 June 1912, lot 162;
André Louis Hirsch (acquired at the above sale);
Mme Louis Hirsch, 1933 (by inheritance from the above)
Confiscated by the Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg (ERR), inv. no. Hir 8  (from box no. Hir 3), 16 October 1941;
Recovered by the Monuments Men and sent to the Munich Central Collecting Point, inv. no. 720/8, 25 June 1945;
Restituted to Mme Louis Hirsch after 23 May 1946;
With M. Knoedler & Co., New York;
From whom purchased by the family of the present owner. 


Detroit, Detroit Institute of Art; Indianapolis, John Herron Institute of Art, Venice 1700 - 1800, 1952, no. 28 (lent by Knoedler).


Venice 1700 - 1800, exhibition catalogue, Detroit 1952, p. 33, cat. no. 28.


The following condition report has been provided by Simon Parkes of Simon Parkes Art Conservation, Inc. 502 East 74th St. New York, NY 212-734-3920, simonparkes@msn.com , an independent restorer who is not an employee of Sotheby's. This work has not been recently cleaned and the palette of the work would certainly improve if cleaning were carried out. No retouches are visible under ultraviolet light. Although actual retouching does not appear to have been applied in large quantities, it can be seen that there is some abrasion to the paint layer, particularly in the darker colors of the architecture and foreground. The canvas has an old glue lining, and the paint layer is stable. This is a work that will improve noticeably if the work were cleaned and the retouching accurately and thoughtfully applied.
"This lot is offered for sale subject to Sotheby's Conditions of Business, which are available on request and printed in Sotheby's sale catalogues. The independent reports contained in this document are provided for prospective bidders' information only and without warranty by Sotheby's or the Seller."

Catalogue Note

This tranquil view of the Piazzetta was a subject revisited by Guardi on numerous occasions through the course of his career, each time varying the perspective and figure arrangements.  Most closely resembling the present composition is a canvas in the Museo Poldi Pezzoli, Milan which, like the present work, is painted from a point at the far left of the square, close to the water, showing only the last two arches of the Palazzo Ducale and excluding the Libreria Sansoviniana at right.1  However, the Milan canvas, which Morassi dates to the 1770s, is squarer in format and shows only the left-most column, with the winged "Lion of Venice", but not the second column with Saint Theodore, the city’s former patron saint, as shown here.

The artist has chosen here to depict the scene at dusk, allowing him to display a virtuosic treatment of crepuscular light, turning the sky at right a warm pink, and casting long shadows from the Libreria Sansovinana, just outside of the pictorial field.  The last rays of the sun catch the right side of the cloud at the center of the composition and bathe the façade and campanile of San Giorgio Maggiore on the far side of the Bacino di San Marco.

When in the Doucet sale, this picture was offered with a pendant, a View of the Giudecca, which also subsequently entered the Hirsch sale. The pair was kept intact and both pictures were restituted back to Hirsch in 1946. 


1.  See A. Morassi, Guardi, i dipinti, Venice 1984, vol. I, p. 382, cat. no. 382, reproduced vol. II, fig. 404.