Entertainment & Arts

Guardi work sets Venice auction benchmark

Venice, a View of the Rialto Bridge, Looking North, from the Fondamenta del Carbon by Francesco Guardi
Image caption The painting is one of four Venetian views executed by Guardi in the late 1760s

A view of Venice by the 18th Century painter Francesco Guardi has fetched more money at auction than any other painting depicting the Italian city.

Venice, a View of the Rialto Bridge, Looking North, from the Fondamenta del Carbon was sold to an anonymous bidder for £26.7m at Sotheby's in London.

It was the highest price paid for any work of art sold at an international auction house so far in 2011.

It also set a new auction record for Guardi, a contemporary of Canaletto's.

According to Sotheby's Alex Bell, the "monumental" work - measuring 115 cm by 199.5 cm - is "one of Francesco Guardi's greatest masterpieces".

The sale, he added, had set "a new auction benchmark, not just for the artist but for any view painting".

The previous highest price for a Venetian view painting was set in 2005 when Canaletto's Venice - The Grand Canal from Palazzo Balbi sold for £18.6m.

The Guardi sale exceeds that reached earlier this week when a painting by horse-racing artist George Stubbs fetched £22.4m at Christie's in London.

Prior to this week, the highest price at an international auction house this year was paid for an Egon Schiele cityscape.

The work - Hauser mit bunter Wasche Vorstadt II (Houses with Colourful Laundry, Suburb II) - sold at Sotheby's in London last month for £24.7m.

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