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In the Air – Art+Auction's Gossip Column

Restoration Reveals Vernet Painting’s Lighthouse, Boosts Price 16-Fold

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When London-based Old Masters dealer Theo Johns got a painting attributed to the studio of 18th century French painter Claude-Joseph Vernet back from the cleaners he noticed a startling change: the stormy seascape now boasted a prominent lighthouse where previously there had only been dark skies (see below).

The dramatic and previously painted-over structure not only added tremendously to the dramatic waterfront scene, it also meant that this was an authentic Vernet all along, the Telegraph reports, lighthouses being one of his trademark tropes. Consequently, its price has increased 16-fold, from the £25,000 ($40,600) for which Johns purchased the painting last year at Sotheby’s to £400,000 ($650,000). It is on view (and sale) at the LAPADA Art & Antiques Fair in London this week.

— Benjamin Sutton

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