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Last Updated: Monday, 21 November 2005, 12:10 GMT
Rare Turner work goes on display
Giudecca, La Donna della Salute and San Giorgio by JMW Turner
It depicts the Grand Canal in Venice from the viewpoint of the Giudecca
A masterpiece by JMW Turner has gone on public display for the first time in 30 years ahead of its auction next year.

Giudecca, La Donna della Salute and San Giorgio will be displayed at Christie's in London until 15 December.

It is expected to fetch more than $15m (8.72m) when it is sold on 6 April at Christie's New York auction house.

The painting, owned by the St Francis of Assisi Foundation since 1992, is described as the finest Turner to come to market for more than 20 years.

"It is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to be offering a work of such outstanding beauty," said Richard Knight and Nicholas Hall of Christie's Old Master Pictures Department.


"This special exhibition in our London headquarters will give the public an opportunity to enjoy the painting for themselves."

When first displayed at the Royal Academy of Arts in 1841, the piece was hailed by the Art Union as "a glorious example of colour, leaving, as usual, much to the fancy of the spectator".

It depicts the Grand Canal in Venice from the viewpoint of the Giudecca, an island in the Venetian lagoon.

The work was one of three oil paintings developed from around 150 watercolours painted by Turner during his final visit to Venice in 1840.

The world auction record for a Turner was set by Seascape, Folkestone, which went for $9m (5.2m) in London in 1984.

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