Audio: Giovanni Antonio Canal, il Canaletto, Palazzo Vendramin-Calergi, on the Grand Canal, Venice
Giovanni Antonio Canal, il Canaletto (Venice 1697-1768)
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Giovanni Antonio Canal, il Canaletto (Venice 1697-1768)

Palazzo Vendramin-Calergi, on the Grand Canal, Venice

Giovanni Antonio Canal, il Canaletto (Venice 1697-1768)
Palazzo Vendramin-Calergi, on the Grand Canal, Venice
oil on canvas
15½ x 19 in. (39.5 x 48.4 cm.)
Henry Farrer, F.S.A.; Christie’s, London, 16 June 1866, lot 312, as ‘The Palazzo Grimani, Venice, with Gondolas and Figures / very fine.’ (120 gns. to the following).
with Anthony, from whom purchased by Samuel Jones Loyd, 1st Lord Overstone (1796-1883), Lockinge House, Wantage, Berkshire, and by descent to his daughter,
Harriet Sarah Jones Loyd (1837-1920), wife of Robert James Loyd-Lindsay, 1st Lord Wantage (1832-1901), and by inheritance at Lockinge through her cousin,
Arthur Thomas Loyd (1882-1944), to the late C.L. Loyd (1923-2013).
G. Redford, Descriptive Catalogue of the Pictures at Lockinge House, London, 1875, no. 11.
A.G. Temple, Catalogue of Pictures Forming the Collection of Lord and Lady Wantage at 2 Carlton Gardens, London, Lockinge House and Overstone Park and Ardington House, London, 1902, p. 26, no. 37.
W.G. Constable, Canaletto: Giovanni Antonio Canal, 1697-1768, Oxford, 1962, I, p. 136, note 3, II, p. 327, no. 326; 2nd edition, revised by J.G. Links, Oxford, 1974; and 3rd edition, Oxford, 1982, I, p. 136, pl. 203, II, p. 350, no. 326, and p. 360.
L. Parris, The Loyd Collection, London, 1967, p. 4, no. 4; revised by F. Russell, 1990, pp. v and 3, no. 4.
L. Puppi, L’Opera completa di Canaletto, Milan, 1968, p. 119, no. 334.
A. Corboz, Canaletto, Una Venezia immaginaria, Milan, 1985, II, p. 743, no. 461.
To be illustrated by Bozena Anna Kowalczyk in her entry for the National Gallery’s Palazzo Grimani in the forthcoming exhibition at Aix-en-Provence.
London, British Institution, Old Masters, 1867, no. 109.
London, The Hayward Gallery, Andrea Palladio, 1975, no. 272.

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Clementine Sinclair
Clementine Sinclair

Lot Essay

Ca’ Vendramin-Calergi was one of the outstanding palaces of Renaissance Venice, and remains a notable landmark on the Grand Canal in the parish of San Marcuola. It was built for the Venetian patrician Andrea Loredan (d. 1513): there is general agreement that it was begun circa 1502 to the design of Mauro Codussi, who died in 1504, and was apparently complete by 1509. In 1589 the palace was bought by Vettore Calergi, passing in the following century to Marina Calergi, wife of Vincenzo Grimani. Exceptionally for a building of its date, the palace was much admired in the eighteenth century. Antonio Visentini illustrated it prominently in his Admiranda of 1760, as, in view of his long association and links with Consul Joseph Smith, the painter was very probably aware; and Antonio Maria Zanetti made engravings after the frescoes in the Atrium, then attributed to Titian, which were destroyed in the redecoration undertaken at the time of the marriage of Girolamo Vendramin in 1766. It was at Ca’ Vendramin-Calergi that Wagner died in 1883.

This picture, like others in the same sparkling technique, was considered by Constable to be a work of about 1740 (op. cit.). Links in 1974 correctly recognised that these works were in fact painted after Canaletto’s final return to Venice from London in 1755 (op. cit.). The artist was still capable of supplying masterpieces of considerable style, as the four Streit canvases in Berlin prove. Clearly he also liked to work on a smaller scale, perhaps influenced by the demands of those who bought his pictures. Less dependent on assistants than in the past, partly because he received fewer commissions, his touch became lighter and freer, his figures brilliantly indicated by controlled dots and dabs of paint, that make one wonder if he had studied Vermeer’s Lady and Gentleman at the Virginals (London, Royal Collection), then in the possession of Consul Smith. Michael Levey defined the quality of the best of the late pictures in his analysis of the late Piazza San Marco (London, National Gallery): ‘small in scale but of a fierce clarity and compressed energy: a painting that offers evidence of how age only increased Canaletto’s artistic assurance’ (‘Artist of the Urban Scene’, Canaletto, exhibition catalogue, New York, 1989, p. 29).

This canvas is one of a group of views of individual palazzi of similar scale and date, the majority of which are of English provenance. These include the Palazzo Corner della Ca’ Grande, formerly in the Crewe collection (Constable, no. 323), the Palazzo Pesaro, in a private collection (Constable, no. 325) and views of Sansovino’s Palazzo Dolfin Manin and Vittoria’s Palazzo Balbi (private collection), which were not known to Constable or Links. To these may be added the somewhat smaller Palazzo Grimani in the National Gallery, London (fig. 1; Constable, no. 324), the provenance of which was, for understandable reasons, confused with that of the Loyd picture. The palazzi in question were among the most prominent secular buildings on the Grand Canal. In view of Canaletto’s long connection with Consul Smith it is reasonable to assume that he was aware of the series of drawings of Venetian palaces that he commissioned from Visentini, now in the British Library. While Canaletto’s views are not strictly architectural records like these drawings, or the similar series executed for John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute in the late 1760s (London, Victoria and Albert Museum), he must have realised that there was a demand for specific representations of such monuments.

Note on the provenance
Henry Farrer was a scholarly collector who over a period of forty years assembled a significant collection of pictures over a wide range, which after his death were offered in a two-day auction at Christie’s. Samuel Jones Loyd, 1st Lord Overstone was one of the most highly respected bankers of his age. He transformed his father’s relatively modest bank, was a member of parliament, and acquired considerable estates at Overstone in Northamptonshire and Lockinge in Berkshire, taking the name of the former when he was created a baron in 1850. He began to collect pictures in about 1831, beginning conventionally enough with pictures by Dutch artists, but his horizons gradually widened. The Dutch pictures, kept in his London house in Carlton Gardens included works by Rembrandt (Portrait of Margaretha de Geer; London, National Gallery), de Koninck and Ruysdael, as well as many impeccable cabinet pictures. Among the pictures from his collection now in the National Gallery, London, are two panels from Cranach’s Saint Catherine altarpiece, Claude’s Enchanted Castle and Lancret’s La Tasse de Chocolat. He also guaranteed the purchase for the National Gallery of the three main panels of Perugino’s Pavia altarpiece.

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