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  • Canaletto Sells For $20 Million at Christie's London
    July 7, 2005 LONDON, ENGLAND.

    Giovanni Antonio Canal, Il Canaletto (1697-1768). The Bucintoro at The Molo, Venice, On Ascension Day. Oil on canvas.

    Christie's evening sale of The Champalimaud Collection £30,022,360 ($52,749,286 / ˆ44,132,869) tonight. The sale was 96% sold by lot and 99% sold by value. This important collection is being sold over the course of two days, with further works of art being sold tomorrow morning. The star lot of this evening was The Bucintoro at the Molo Venice, on Ascension Day by Canaletto which sold for £11,432,000 ($20,086,024 ˆ16,805,040), a new world record price for the artist at auction (estimate: £4,000,000-6,000,000). Proceeds from the two-day auction will go to a Medical Foundation set up by Mr. Champalimaud for the Portuguese nation.

    Pedro Girao, Deputy Chairman of Christie's Europe, who oversaw the sale commented: "The prices achieved tonight reflect the high quality of objects collected by Antonio Champalimaud and the results pay tribute to him. We are particularly pleased with the record price achieved for the superb painting by Canaletto which was sold after a long bidding battle between several collectors. Further highlights tonight included a Louis XVI ormolu-mounted ebony and Japanese lacquer commode and Guardi's The Island of San Cristoforo, near Murano, Venice. We look forward to concluding the sale of this superb collection tomorrow as well as offering magnificent furniture, works of art and sculpture from various owners, including the Piamontini equestrian bronze."

    The Old Master Paintings were highly sought after this evening reflecting the interest of the market in this category. The superb painting by Canaletto which led the sale this evening showed the view of the Molo, with the Doge's Barge, the Bucintoro, prominently moored and was produced on a scale that makes it the most monumental Venetian view of the artist's London period. While several variations of the theme exist, it is unique in its vertical format and viewpoint. More intimate in scale was Canaletto's pair of views of Venice: the Piazzetta looking West and The Piazza San Marco, looking West (estimate: £700,000-1,000,000) which realized £1,800,000 ($3,162,600 ˆ2,646,000).

    Other paintings that attracted considerable interest were two pendant canvases by Francesco Guardi, The Island of San Cristoforo, Murano (estimate: £600,000-800,000) which sold for £1,800,000 ($3,162,600 ˆ2,646,000) and The Grand Canal, Venice, with the Church of the Scalzi and the Lista di Spagna (estimate: £400,000-600,000) which realized £1,688,000 ($2,965,816 ˆ2,481,360).

    The French 18th century paintings in the sale were also very well received with Jean-Honoré Fragonard's La Jardinière, circa 1754-5 (estimate: £400,000-600,000), achieving £1,184,000 ($2,080,288 ˆ1,740,480) and the beautifully preserved work by Jean-Baptiste Greuze Innocence: a girl, bust-length, in a white chemise, looking up to the right (estimate: £150,000-250,000) selling for £512,000 ($899,584 ˆ752,640). Francois Boucher and Studio's Clio, the Muse of History and Song; and Erato, the Muse of Love Poetry (estimate: £300,000-500,000) achieved £1,184,000 ($2,080,288 ˆ1,740,480).

    Works of art were led by a Louis XVI ormolu-mounted ebony and Japanese lacquer commode à encoignures by Claude-Charles Saunier with inset Sicilian jasper top (estimate: £800,000-1,200,000) that sold for £2,360,000 ($4,146,520 ˆ3,469,200) and a pair of Louis XVI ormolu-mounted ebony, Japanese lacquer and japanned tole étageres by Martin Carlin with brocatelle d'Espagne marbled tops which achieved £1,688,000 ($2,965,816 ˆ2,481,360), over five times pre-sale expectations. The outstanding pair of parcel-gilt polychrome marble, alabaster, gesso, paste and lead standing male and female Royal Blackamoors (estimate £600,000-800,000) realised £848,000 ($1,489,936 ˆ1,246,560).