Claude-Joseph Vernet's (1714-1789) vast landscape painting View of Avignon is to be among the highlights of Sotheby's Old Master and British Paintings sale in London on July 3.
Last offered at auction more than 200 years ago, the 1756 oil on canvas is thought to be worth between £3m ($4.6m) and £5m ($7.7m).
The work is Vernet's only known painting of his birthplace, the medieval French city of Avignon. Called "one of Vernet's finest views" by art historian Giuliano Briganti, it remained "lost" until it was discovered in 1954, in a private collection near Bristol, UK.
Sotheby's Andrew Fletcher comments: "Thanks to its rare appearances, and to its having passed through only a handful of collections in its 250 year history, this superb work is preserved in impeccable condition."
Vernet's 1752 work, Le Soir, a Mediterranean harbour scene at sunset, sold for $2.1m at Christie's in December 1999 - signifying that when large scale works by Vernet do come to market, they generally sell with strong results.
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