(VENICE 1712-1793)
(VENICE 1712-1793)
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Property of a Lady

San Giorgio Maggiore, with the Punta del Giudecca

(VENICE 1712-1793)
San Giorgio Maggiore, with the Punta del Giudecca
oil on canvas, unframed
19 x 26 1/8 in. (48.2 x 66.3 cm.)
(Possibly) William Wells, Redleaf; his sale (†), Christie's, London, 12 May 1848 (=1st day), lot 12 (37 gns. to White of Bond Street).
John Henderson (1797-1879), 3 Montague Street, Russell Square, London, by 1857, and by inheritance to,
Lt. Col. Kenneth Henderson, 38 Queens Gate Terrace, London; Christie's, London, 18 February 1882 [=3rd Day], lot 340 (200 gns. to Martin Colnaghi).
William Lee; Christie's, London, 22 June 1888, lot 453 (390 gns. to Koekkock).
(Probably) with Agnew's, circa 1930s, when acquired by the father of the present owner.
G.F. Waagen, Galleries and Cabinets of Art in Great Britain, London, 1857, p. 211, 'The large mass of still water shows great delicacy of greenish-blue tones'.

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Lot Essay

This picture shows the island monastery of San Giorgio Maggiore, with its celebrated façade designed by Andrea Palladio, and the eastern end of the Giudecca, now the site of the Cipriani Hotel, by afternoon light from a view point on the Molo. The subject had an inevitable appeal to visitors to Venice, and this explains the large number of variants of the composition by the artist (A. Morassi, Guardi: I dipinti, Venice, 1984, nos. 422-35), some of which extend the view to the right to include the church of the Zitelle. While the topography and the angle of the light, which emphasises the sophistication of Palladio's front, changes little, Guardi never repeats his skies or his boats, although the manner in which these serve to frame the design of this picture is paralleled in several other examples - i.e. Morassi, nos. 423 (Toulouse, Fondation Bemberg), 425 (Carter collection), 427 (Venice, Accademia), 428 (Toledo, Museum of Art) and 432 (London, Wallace Collection). This canvas is a relatively mature work, presumably of the 1780s. Like other variants of the subject the picture was, as Waagen states, the pendant to a View of the Dogana and the Salute: of the pictures of that subject known to Morassi (nos. 472-95) only one is of similar scale, the example in the San Francisco Legion of Honor Museum (Morassi, no. 492; measuring 48 x 66 cm.), first recorded in the possession of A. Williams, which is clearly of comparable date and described by Morassi as a late work of good quality ('buon livello').
John Henderson was a significant collector of contemporary British pictures and watercolours, and also had a distinguished holding of Italian maiolica. Among his Old Masters, Dr. Waagen recorded no fewer than ten pictures by Guardi: one of these, of the Piazza di San Marco, was lent to the Winter Exhibition of the Royal Academy in 1870. Of the seven pictures sold in 1882 one, lot 343, is now in the National Gallery (no. 2522): ironically the picture which Henderson bequeathed to that institution is merely a pastiche (London, National Gallery).

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