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Luca Carlevarijs (Udine 1663-1730 Venice) The Church of San Giorgio Maggiore and the Grand Canal, Venice. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd 2010

signed 'L.C.' (lower left, on the box) oil on canvas, 25¼ x 36¾ in. (64.1 x 93.3 cm.) Estimate $500,000 - $700,000 Price Realized $602,500

Provenance: Stefano Conti (1654-1739) and by descent to his grandson
Carlo Giuseppe Innocenzo, by 1750, and (probably) to his beneficiary Filippo Fatinelli, in 1794, and (probably) by descent to
Angela Massoni (née Fatinelli) and Gasparo Massoni, and by descent to Marquis and Marquise Piero Massoni-Errera.
Anonymous sale; Bonhams, London, 8 July 2009, lot 90.
Property of a nobleman.

Literature: P. Betti, 'La collezione di Stefano Conti: un Lazzarini e due Carlevarijs ritrovati', Antichità viva, XXXVI, no. 1, January-February 1997, pp. 38-43.
I. Reale, Gaspare Vanvitelli e le origini del vedutismo, exhibition catalogue, Rome, 2002, pp. 315-317.
P. Betti in the exhibition catalogue, Canaletto: Venezia e i suoi splendori, Venice, 2008, pp. 243-244, under no. 5.

Notes: The present painting and its impressive pendant, View of the Molo towards the Basilica of Santa Maria della Salute (fig. 1, Lucca, Museo Nazionale di Palazzo Mansi), were commissioned by Stefano Conti (1654-1739) in 1706. Conti was a wealthy Lucchese silk and wool merchant who assembled an important collection of Venetian and Bolognese paintings during the first three decades of the eighteenth century. He was advised by Alessandro Marchesini, who was a painter himself and well connected in the artistic circles of Venice.

In 1703 Carlevarijs published a detailed survey of Venetian topography, Le fabbriche, e vedute di Venezia, disegnate, poste in prospettiva, establishing himself as the preeminent architectural view painter of his generation. That folio, which includes three engravings of San Giorgio Maggiore, was seen by Stefano Conti on his first visit to Venice in 1704, and resulted in a handsome commission for Carlevarijs of three pictures (including the present work) upon Conti's return visit to Venice in 1706. Detailed correspondence between the artist and his patron allow for the accurate dating of these pictures, which is otherwise complicated with Carlevarijs' work.

The church in the present view is shown from close-up with an emphasis on the facade, quite different from the earlier engravings Carlevarijs produced, and likely tailored to suit his patron's exacting taste. The pendant View of the Molo and the painting commissioned later that year - of an unknown subject but likely a view of Piazza San Marco - reflect Conti's confidence in the artist. This esteem endured as twenty years later Conti requested two more views by the artist, at which time Marchesini proposed the young Canaletto to fulfill the commission instead.

A detailed inventory of the Conti collection provides provenance information about this picture (archived in the l'Autografoteca Campori della Biblioteca Estente, Modena) revealing that upon Stefano Conti's death his collection passed to his grandson, Carlo Giuseppe Innocenzo. It then appears that it then passed by marriage into the Massoni family through the daughter of Filippo Fatinelli, who was the beneficiary to Carlo Conti (d. 1794), the sole surviving member of the Conti family.

Christie's. Old Masters & 19th Century Art Including Select Works From the Salander-O'Reilly Galleries. 9 June 2010. New York, Rockefeller Plaza www.christies.com