The Grand Canal in Venice with Palazzo Bembo

Object Details


The Grand Canal in Venice with Palazzo Bembo


Francesco Guardi (Italian, 1712 - 1793)




about 1768


Oil on canvas


47 × 76.5 cm (18 1/2 × 30 1/8 in.)

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A luminous morning haze bathes Venice's Grand Canal. Guided by oarsmen, gondolas and cargo boats glide through the placid water; their hulls traverse the gentle reflections cast by the surrounding buildings. Masts and vertical pilings punctuate the pale, overcast sky. Buildings of varying shapes and scale--but all sharing a muted palette--extend from edge to edge and deep into the distance. On the right, a few early-risers mill about on the banks of the canal.

Francesco Guardi often painted vedute, or views, of Venice's principal waterway. Many of the buildings in this view were palaces of important Venetian families. The most prominent among them is the two-toned Palazzo Bembo on the canal's left bank. Its owners, and Guardi's likely patrons, even appear on the palace's upper balcony.

Guardi appreciated Venice as a city of constant change rather than as a static tourist destination. On the right side, behind the tiny figures on shore, he depicted the Church of San Geremia in the midst of its renovation. The two-toned facade of the Palazzo Bembo draws attention to a recent addition to this Renaissance palace. Amid this urban transformation, Guardi reveals the transitory effects of weather and water on his life-long home of Venice.

about 1768 -

Possibly commissioned by Carlo Spinola Marchese de Rocca Forte, about 1768.

1880s - 1933

John Jaffé, died 1933, by inheritance to his wife, Anna Jaffé.

1933 - 1942

Anna Jaffé, died 1942, looted by the Vichy Government of France, 1942.

1942 - 1943

In the possession of the Vichy government of France, [sold Hotel Savoy, Nice, July 12-13, 1943, lot 99, to Mrs. Bonfils.]

1943 - 1944

Mrs. Bonfils, sold through Hildebrandt Gurlitt to the Führermuseum, 1944.

1944 - 1945

Führermuseum, restituted to the Collecting Point, Munich.

1945 - 1946

Collecting Point Munich, restituted to the French Government, 1946.

1946 - 1950

In the possession of the French government, Garde-Meuble National, placed on deposit at the Musée du Louvre, Paris, France, 1950.

1950 - 1952

Musée du Louvre, in exchange for another work by Francesco Guardi to the Musée des Augustins, Toulouse, France, 1952.

1952 - 2005

Musée des Augustins, restituted to the heirs of Anna Jaffé, 2005.


Heirs of Anna Jaffé, died 1942, [sold, Christie's, London, July 8, 2005, lot 48, to the J. Paul Getty Museum.]

L'Italie des Peintures (1954 to 1955) (Cat. 23)
  • Musée des Augustins (Toulouse), 1954 to 1955
Venise au dix-huitième siècle (September 21 to November 29, 1971) (Cat. 72)
  • Musée de l'Orangerie (Paris), September 21 to November 29, 1971
Settecento, le Siecle de Tiepolo: Peintures italiennes dans les collections publiques francaises (2000 to 2001) (Cat. 27)
  • Musée des Beaux-Arts (Lyon), 2000 to 2001
  • Palais des Beaux-Arts (Lille), 2001
Palettes Italienens (2003)
  • Musée des Augustins (Toulouse), 2003

Hémery, Axel. La peinture italienne au Musée des Augustins, exh. Cat. (Toulouse: Musée des Augustins,1953), pp. 66-67, no. 23, ill.

Mesplé, Paul. Le Museé des Augustins à Toulouse (Paris: Éditions de la Photothèque, 1959), p. vi.

Mesuret, Robert. Évocation du vieux Toulouse (Paris: Éditions de Minuit, 1960), p. 366.

Pallucchini, Rodolfo. "Il Settecento veneziano all'Orangerie." Arte Veneta 25 (1971), p. 330.

Venise au dix-huitième siècle: peintures, dessins et gravures des collection françaises, exh. cat. (Paris: Musée de Orangerie, with Réunion des Musées Nationaux, 1971), p. 74, no. 72.

Morassi, Antonio. Guardi: Francesco e Antonio Guardi (Venezia: Alfieri, 1973), vol. 1, p. 416, no. 570; vol. 2, unpaginated, fig. 543.

Rossi Bortolatto, Luigina. L'Opera completa di Francesco Guardi (Milan: Rizzoli,1974), p. 112, no. 376.

Morassi, Antonio. Guardi: Tutti i disegni di Antonio, Francesco e Giacomo Guardi (Venezia: Alfieri, 1975), p. 146, under no. 381.

Morassi, Antonio. Guardi: I Dipinti. 2 vols. (1975; repr., Venice: Alfieri, 1984), vol. 1, p. 416, no. 570; vol. 2, unpaginated, fig, 543.

Brejon de Lavergnée, Arnauld, and Dominique Thiébaut. Catalogue sommaire illustré des peintures du musée du Louvre: Italie, Espagne, Allemagne, Grande-Bretagne et divers. 5 vols. (Paris: Editions de la Réunion des musées nationaux, 1979-1986), vol. 2 (1981), p. 291, MNR no. 286.

Casadio, Paolo et al. Guardi. Metamorfosi dell'immagine, exh. Cat. (Gorizia: Castello di Gorizia, 1987), p. 280, under no. 75.

Settecento: Le siècle de Tiepolo. Peintures italiennes du XVIIIe siècle exposées dans les collections publiques françaises, exh. Cat. (Lyon, Musée des Beaux-Arts, 2000-2001), p. 113, no. 27, ill., entry by Axel Hémery.

Hémery, Axel. La peinture italienne au Museé des Augustins, exh. cat. (Toulouse: Musée des Augustins, 2003), pp. 66-68, no. 23.

Lesné, Claude, and Anne Roquebert. Catalogue des Peintures: MNR (Paris: Réunion des Musées Nationaux, 2004), p. 567, MNR no. 286.

Russell, Francis. "Guardi's Magic: A Masterpiece by the Great Venetian vedutista." Christie's Magazine: The Champalimaud Collection, London, 6 and 7 July (June/July/August 2005), p. 60-61, ill.

Christie's, London. Important Old Master Pictures. July 8, 2005, pp. 181-85, lot 48, ill.

"New & Noteworthy." Getty RE:View (November/December 2005), p. 8, ill.

Christie's, New York. "John and Anna Jaffé: A European Family." Important Old Master Paintings Part I, Including Paintings from the Collection of Jacques Goudstikker. April 19, 2007, p. 193, fig. 2.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 7th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2007), p. 125, ill.

"Kimball Returns Turner Painting to Heirs of Original Owner." Kimbell Art Museum Calendar (September 2006-Februry 2007), p. 16.

Roth, Martin, Harald Marx, and Michael Brand. "Foreword." In Captured Emotions: Baroque Painting in Bologna, 1575-1725, exh. cat. Andreas Henning and Scott Schaefer, eds. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2008), p. vii.

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