ENIGMATIC MASTER’S FINEST WORK: Francesco Zanin

ENIGMATIC MASTER’S FINEST WORK ON OFFER AT BONHAMS’
19TH CENTURY EUROPEAN PAINTINGS SALE: Francesco Zanin
 
Francesco Zanin, The Piazza San Marco, Venice, in the early hours of the last evening of carnival; estimate US$100,000 – 150,000
Francesco Zanin’s dramatic view of Piazza San Marco, Venice, is the Italian master’s finest work and is as enigmatic as the artist. It will be offered in Bonhams’ 19th Century European Paintings sale on 4th November at Bonhams, New York.
Its enormous size, measuring roughly two metres high and three metres across, marks a contrast to the main body of Zanin’s œuvre. Untraced since its exhibition in 1865 at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Venice, this view is both his most mysterious and his most ambitious work.
While most of Zanin’s (1824 – 1884) paintings are recreations of 18th century Venetian scenes – most famously those of Venetian master Canaletto (1697 – 1768) – The Piazza San Marco, Venice, in the early house of the last evening of carnival is Zanin at his most original.
Until recently, very little was known about Francesco Zanin – the correct dates of his birth and death were first published only in 2010. His artistic career was successful until his style fell out of fashion. Refusing charity, he died in poverty on Christmas Day in 1884, aged 60. Nearly 150 years on, interest in his work is now rising again significantly.
“This majestic, misty scene is Zanin’s greatest masterpiece,” said Madalina Lazen, Bonhams senior specialist in European Paintings. “He captures the atmosphere of a wintry Venetian evening in a way that truly transports the viewer. It is Zanin bringing his own style to the traditions of Canaletto and moving the genre of Venetian views into the 19th century.”
Gyula Von Benczur’s (1844 – 1920) The capture of Louis XVI and his family, with an estimated value of US$70,000 – 100,000, and Léon François Comerre’s (1850 – 1916) An oriental beauty holding a pink fan, valued at US$70,000 – 90,000, will also feature in the sale.
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