Published: June 2, 2016
VANCOUVER, CANADA — At its semi-annual live auction May 25, Heffel Fine Art Auction House saw strong competition for museum-quality works on offer, resulting in notable sales and a boost for Canada’s art market. Indicative of unremitting collector demand for top works of art, the auction totaled $17.2 million, exceeding the $9–12 million estimate.
“We’re ecstatic, not only with the results of the auction, but with the strong attendance at our previews,” said Robert Heffel, Vice President of Heffel Fine Art Auction House. “Sharing this group of historically important works with the public is as exciting for us as seeing the pieces find their rightful homes.”
Interest and appreciation are unsurpassed for works by Lawren Harris, a founding member of Canada’s national art movement, the Group of Seven. Three important Harris paintings sold in this sale, led by “Laurentian Landscape” that performed well over estimate at $2,183,000. The 1913–1914 canvas is known as a pivotal piece from the artist’s extensive career and a cornerstone for the establishment of the Group of Seven. Two Lawren Harris oil on board sketches also bettered their estimates” “Coldwell, Lake Superior, Lake Superior Sketch XXII” fetched $649,000 and “Mount Sampson, Maligne Lake” took $413,000. Including this sale, Heffel has sold works by Lawren Harris totaling more than $67 million.
Another blockbuster sale was “The Post Office at Courtenay, BC,” a rare canvas by West Coast landscape painter E.J. Hughes that set an auction record for the artist at $1,593,000. Six works by Hughes in the auction totaled $2.14 million.
Rounding out the sale were Alex Colville’s “Swimming Dog and Canoe” more than doubling high estimate to bring $1,180,000; post-war and contemporary works by important Quebec artists saw enthusiastic bidding such as Guido Molinari’s commanding “Sans titre” that set a new auction record at $354,000 while Jean Paul Riopelle’s 1955 work, “Composition,” brought $649,000.
Mature-period Emily Carr canvases are highly sought-after and fetching $708,000 was Carr’s sea and sky painting “Shoreline” while her watercolor “Gitwangak” reached $413,000.
All prices reported are in Canadian dollars and include an 18 percent buyer’s premium.
For more information, www.heffel.com or 800-528-9608.
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