Export Halted For Francesco Guardi Venice Masterpiece

£26,697,250 price tag to save painting for Nation

The Culture Minister, Ed Vaizey, has placed a temporary export bar on a painting by Francesco Guardi, Venice, A View of the Rialto Bridge from the Fondamenta del Carbon.  This will provide a limited period in which to raise the money to keep the painting in the United Kingdom. 

The Minister’s ruling follows a recommendation by the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest, administered by Arts Council England. The Committee recommended that the export decision be deferred on the grounds that the painting is of outstanding aesthetic importance and of outstanding significance for the study of the development of Guardi, Venetian view painting, and Grand Tour patronage and taste.

The painting, which dates from the mid 18th century (c.1768), depicts a busy stretch of the Grand Canal around the Rialto Bridge – the commercial hub of Venice – under an expanse of luminous blue sky. This mature work demonstrates the artist’s skill at creating visual drama and atmosphere by recording the delicate play of light on buildings and water. Influenced by Canaletto, Guardi was the last great native view painter of Venice. All subsequent artists depicting the city were inspired by his example, perhaps especially Turner.

Simon Swynfen Jervis, Reviewing Committee member, said:

“This noble painting represents Francesco Guardi on the grand scale, emulating Canaletto and Bellotto. Whether it was patterns of patronage or his own inclination which later impelled him towards a smaller scale and lighter touch, this View of the Rialto demonstrates that in 1768 he could impress as well as delight.”

The decision on the export licence application for the painting will be deferred for a period ending on 16 January 2012 inclusive. This period may be extended until 16 July 2012 inclusive if a serious intention to raise funds with a view to making an offer to purchase the painting at the recommended price of £26,697,250 is expressed [final purchase price will be plus VAT, exact amount to be confirmed, which can be reclaimed by most public museums].

Offers from public bodies for less than the recommended price through the private treaty sale arrangements, where appropriate, may also be considered by the Culture Minister.  Such purchases frequently offer substantial financial benefit to both parties through the
sharing of tax advantages.

Anyone interested in making an offer to purchase the painting should contact the owner’s agent through:

The Secretary
The Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest
Arts Council England
14 Great Peter Street
0207 973 5259

Anyone interested in making a matching offer and who requires further information from the Champion for the painting should contact The Secretary to the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest at the above address.

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