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Turner Masterpiece Could Sell for $20M

March 29, 2006

NEW YORK (AP) _ An ethereal view of clouds over Venice by J.M.W. Turner is expected to sell for at least $20 million _ more than double the previous record for the artist _ at Christie’s April 6 sale of Old Master paintings.

The painting, ``Giudecca, La Donna della Salute and SanaGiorgio,″ from 1841, is being sold by the St. Francis of Assisi Foundation, a nonprofit institution in New York that receives donations to support the missionary effort of the Capuchin order of friars.

A private collector bought the painting in 1992 and donated it to the foundation, which did not display it to the public. When the work was exhibited at Christie’s in London last December it was the first time it had been seen by the public in more than 20 years.

``It is an iconic painting by the artist,″ said Nicholas Hall, head of the Old Masters department at Christie’s. ``It’s very unusual that you have a picture which comes on the market these days that is a genuine bona fide masterpiece.″

The previous auction record for Turner is $9.05 million for ``Seascape, Folkestone″ sold in London in 1984. The record for any British painting sold at auction is $21 million for John Constable’s ``The Lock″ in 1990.

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