Property from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Sold to Benefit the Acquisition Fund
GIOVANNI ANTONIO CANAL, CALLED CANALETTO | VENICE, A VIEW OF THE GRAND CANAL LOOKING EAST WITH SANTA MARIA DELLA SALUTE
Estimate: 3,000,000 - 5,000,000 USD
Property from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Sold to Benefit the Acquisition Fund
GIOVANNI ANTONIO CANAL, CALLED CANALETTO
Venice 1697 - 1768
VENICE, A VIEW OF THE GRAND CANAL LOOKING EAST WITH SANTA MARIA DELLA SALUTE
oil on canvas
18 ¾by 31 ¼in.; 47.6 by 79.4 cm.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org, an independent restorer who is not an employee of Sotheby's.
This work is in beautiful condition. The canvas has been lined with a non-wax adhesive. The paint layer is stable, and the surface is attractive. Although very presentable in its current state, the varnish seems to have discolored, and cleaning would likely produce a brighter palette. The varnish is quite milky under ultraviolet light. There do not appear to be any retouches throughout the city and canal. The condition also seems to be excellent in the sky, but there is one retouching about half an inch in circumference in the lower center and a few other small retouches in the white cloud in the upper right.
"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."
With Caspari Galleries, Munich, by 1926;
Where acquired by Colnaghi, London, 1926 - 27;
Where acquired by Leggatt, London, 1927 - 28;
Where acquired by Mrs. Whitelaw Reid, Ophir Hall, Purchase, NY, 1928 - 35;
Her sale, New York, American Art Association/Anderson Galleries, 14 - 18 May 1935, lot 1157, for $1,300 to Weitzner;
With Julius H. Weitzner, New York, 1935–38;
Where acquired by Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 1938–58;
From whom purchased by Julius H. Weitzner, New York, 1958;
With Rosenberg & Stiebel, New York, until 1959;
Where acquired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, with funds provided by the George T. Delacorte, Jr. gift, 1959, inv. no. 59.38.
San Francisco, California Palace of the Legion of Honor, Exhibition of Italian Baroque Painting: 17th and 18th Centuries, 16 May 15–June 1941, no. 9 (lent by the Minneapolis Institute of Arts);
New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Venetian Paintings in the Metropolitan Museum, 1 May–2 September 1974, no cat. no.;
Athens, National Gallery Alexandros Soutzos Museum, From El Greco to Cézanne: Masterpieces of European Painting from the National Gallery of Art, Washington, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 13 December 1992–11 April 1993, no. 32;
Oklahoma City Museum of Art, La Serenissima: Eighteenth-Century Venetian Art from North American Collections, 9 September 2010–2 January 2011, no. 35;
Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum; Beijing, National Museum of China, Earth, Sea, and Sky: Nature in Western Art; Masterpieces from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 6 October 2012–4 January 2013; 8 February–9 May 2013, no. 125.
"Fine Paintings, Ceramics, in Reid Sale to be Held by American-Anderson Galleries," in Art News vol. 33 (4 May 1935), reproduced p. 17;
"Furniture and Art of Whitelaw Reid Realize $290,322," in Art News vol. 33 (25 May 1935), p. 14, as sold to Weitzner for $1300;
"Canaletto's Venice," in Bulletin of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts vol. 27 (5 November 1938), pp. 147–49, reproduced;
W. G. Constable, Canaletto: Giovanni Antonio Canal, 1697–1768, Oxford 1962, vol. 2, p. 257, no. 175;
L. Puppi in The Complete Paintings of Canaletto, New York 1968, p. 111, no. 237C;
B.B. Fredericksen and F. Zeri, Census of Pre-Nineteenth-Century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections, Cambridge 1972, pp. 42, 493, 609;
F. Zeri with E.E. Gardner, Italian Paintings: A Catalogue of the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Venetian School, New York 1973, p. 14, reproduced pl. 13;
W.G. Constable, Canaletto: Giovanni Antonio Canal, 1697–1768, ed. J.G. Links, 2nd ed., Oxford 1976, vol. 2, p. 271, no. 175;
K. Baetjer, European Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art by Artists Born Before 1865: A Summary Catalogue, New York 1980, vol. II, reproduced p. 135;
A. Corboz, Canaletto: una Venezia immaginaria, Milan 1985, vol. 2, p. 656, no. P334;
W.G. Constable, Canaletto: Giovanni Antonio Canal, 1697–1768., ed. J.G. Links, 2nd ed., reissued with supplement and additional plates, Oxford 1989, vol. 2, p. 271, no. 175;
N.H.J. Hall, ed., Colnaghi in America: A Survey to Commemorate the First Decade of Colnaghi New York, New York 1992, p. 131;
D. Krohn et al., in From El Greco to Cézanne: Masterpieces of European Painting from the National Gallery of Art, Washington, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, exhibition catalogue, Athens 1992, unpaginated, no. 32, reproduced in color;
K. Baetjer, European Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art by Artists Born Before 1865: A Summary Catalogue, New York 1995, p. 91, reproduced;
A. Derstine in La Serenissima: Eighteenth-Century Venetian Art from North American Collections, exhibition catalogue, Oklahoma City 2010, cat. no. 35, pp. 109, 115 notes 23, 25, pp. 124–25, 191, reproduced in color p. 124;
P. Barnet et al., Earth, Sea, and Sky: Nature in Western Art; Masterpieces from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, exhibition catalogue, Tokyo 2012, pp. 192, 260, no. 125, reproduced pp. 37, 194–95, 260 (color, overall and detail) [Chinese ed., Hefei Shi 2013, pp. 276–77, no. 125, reproduced in color, overall and detail].
This majestic bird's eye view of the landing stage in front of Santa Maria della Salute was likely painted in circa 1740, during the height of Canaletto's Venetian period. The warm sunlight and clear shadows evoke a peaceful afternoon on a clear day, as gondolas and merchant ships populate the Grand Canal and Venetians stroll in and out of the church, which is dedicated to the city's survival of the plague. Canaletto treated this recognizable view of the Salute several times: his earliest picture of the canal and the Salute from the west dates to the late 1720s, while his largest and most famous canvas of this subject dates to 1744 and is in the British Royal Collection.
In 1630, a devastating outbreak of the plague killed nearly a third of the population of Venice. In thanksgiving for delivering the city through the outbreak, the Venetian Senate elected to consecrate a new church to the Virgin as protector of the republic. Baldassare Longhena (1598–1682) won the competition to design the church, and construction began in 1631 and was finished fifty years later, just one year before Longhena's death. The location of the Salute was chosen to form an arc with San Giorgio Maggiore, San Marco, and the Redentore, the city's other important churches, and its dome became a civic emblem. Each year on November 21, city officials commemorated the Feast of the Presentation of the Virgin by parading from Piazza San Marco across the canal to the Salute on a specially constructed floating bridge; the festival is still celebrated today. The Salute, as a symbol of Venetian piety, also stands adjacent to the Dogana da Mar, the center of maritime commerce.
Beyond the Salute at right, Canaletto included the facade of the Seminario Patriarcale, and further along is the tower of the Dogana. At left, across the canal, are some of the most important buildings in Venice, all of which appear in other paintings by the master: the mint, the library, one of the columns in the Piazzetta, the Palazzo Ducale, and the prison, with the Riva degli Schiavoni curving to the right.
By 1740 Canaletto had reached the most productive period of his career, during which time he strove to record detailed scenes of Venetian life and topography with emphasis on light and color. In this year and the following, Canaletto and his accomplished pupil and nephew Bernardo Bellotto (1721 - 1780) toured the Brenta and the mainland, making drawings that would later inspire paintings and etchings that he produced in the studio. In 1741, the War of Austrian Succession caused a decline in foreign visitors to Venice, and Canaletto lost British patrons, who had comprised a substantial part of his clientele; he would eventually relocate to London from 1746 - 1755.
The present lot is comparable to a picture dated 1738/42 in the Emil Bürhle collection, Zurich, which centers the Salute along the vertical edge of the canvas and looks on from a viewpoint slightly to the left and further back from the present view. In both scenes, Canaletto defined the facade of the Salute with strong shadows indicating time of day and the figures surrounding the cathedral in subdued local color. In the picture from 1744 in the Royal Collections, which is likely the last that Canaletto made of this particular view, he used a lower and closer viewpoint angled toward the Salute that cuts off the cupola, and rendered the sculpture and texture on the facade in almost obsessive detail. The present picture has more strongly defined shadows as well as more boats in the foreground, including a sandalo at lower left carrying two barrels not seen in other renditions of this subject, and tall masts of seagoing ships in the background. This view of the Grand Canal is broader than other iterations, which therefore makes the buildings on the opposite bank appear diminutive in comparison to the grand Salute.
Precisely this type of view of a famous landmark, surrounded by everyday activity and rendered in nuanced local color, is what would make Canaletto the most sought-after vedustisti in 18th-century Italy and later in London. Such scenes have remained popular since his lifetime and continue to enchant viewers today.