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Millions Spent at Canada’s Spring Auctions

Canada’s spring art auctions turned in some interesting results last week. Here are some highlights.

At Heffel’s auction on May 28 in Vancouver, there were seven record-breaking sales, including new artist records for Lise Gervais, Ken Danby, David Blackwood, Mary Pratt and Joyce Wieland.

Heffel’s sold eight Emily Carr lots—including rare early illustrations obtained from the family of Mr. and Mrs. William H. Clarke, Emily Carr’s publishers—for a total of $1.5 million.

Also in Vancouver, Pleine saison by Montreal’s Jean Paul Riopelle sold for $1.298 million, twice its high estimate. Lawren Harris’s Lake Superior Sketch LXI nearly doubled its estimate at $973,500. (It was originally estimated at $500,000 to $700,000.)

And Heffel helped keep garage-sale-browsers’ hopes alive by selling Edwin Holgate’s oil-on-board piece Grand Manan for $12,000—far from the consignors’ recent garage-sale purchase price of 2 dollars. (They found it at a sale close to Holgate’s former home.)

More Lawren Harrises surfaced at the Waddington’s auction on May 26 in Toronto.

One of these Harrises—Lake Superior Painting—is a typically streamlined natural landscape by the artist, of the type that have brought big sales in the past. This one sold for $2.48 million, leading Waddington’s overall sales for the evening.

The other of the Harrises—Street Scene—is a less characteristic work by the artist focusing on an urban environment. It sold for $1.15 million, roughly double its presale estimate.

Three other works that more than doubled their high estimates at the Waddington’s auction were Emily Carr’s Forest Clearing, which realized a price of $472,000 and was estimated at $150,000 to $200,000; Guido Molinari’s Mutation Serielle with Black Band, which realized a price of $200,600 and was estimated at $70,000 to $90,000; and Bertram Brooker’s Creation, which realized $28,320 and was estimated at $8,000 to $10,000.

Waddington’s also doubled the pre-existing auction record for Painters Eleven member Oscar Cahén, whose Object obtained a price of $118,000.

Contemporary art was also on the slate at Waddington’s, with works sold by Kim Dorland, David Blackwood and Dorothy Knowles.

The Painters Eleven trend also proved fruitful for Consignor Canadian Fine Art, which ran an online auction from May 21 to May 29.

Two works by Painters Eleven member Jack Bush led Consignor’s auction results. The first, Summer Lake, fetched $310,500, doubling the pre-sale estimate of $100,000 to $150,000. The second, Pink on Red (Thrust), sold for $299,000, surpassing its estimate of $175,000 to $225,000.

The upshot was that these two Bush works became the two most expensive Canadian works of art to sell in an online auction in Canada.

All three works in the Consignor auction by Saskatchewan painter William Perehudoff also attracted bidding, resulting in a new auction record for the artist’s work as his AC-78-33 went for $46,000.

Gris et bleu (1972) by Yves Gaucher achieved $48,300, selling just shy of the artist’s auction record.

Other works sold in the Consignor auction included pieces by Betty Goodwin, Gordon Rayner, and Ray Mead.

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