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Canada’s Auction Houses Hit Highs and Lows During Fall Auction Week

As Canada’s fall auctions wrapped up on Tuesday, there were both positive and negative signs in the marketplace.

Strong sales of many works were enjoyed, but a number of notable offerings went completely unsold.

Reporting on the Joyner Waddington’s auction Monday evening, the Canadian Press noted that a 1957 abstract painting by Paul-Emile Borduas sold for about four times its presale estimate. The work, Chatterie, ended up going for $660,800 including buyer’s premium—just $3,000 short of a Borduas record, CP stated.

But CP’s article also noted that no buyers Monday were forthcoming for two paintings by Group of Seven member Franklin Carmichael, estimated at $125,00 to $175,000.

At the Sotheby’s auction on Tuesday, CBC reported, Lawren Harris’s Arctic Sketch XXII doubled its $400,000 to $600,000 estimate, with the bids stopping at $865,000.

But CBC also noted that Harris’s Street in Barrie, Ont., estimated to sell for $900,000 to $1.2 million on Tuesday, didn’t find a buyer. Same for a painting by Tom Thomson estimated at $750,000 to $1 million.

Similarly, while the Heffel auction on Thursday had Harris’s Hurdy Gurdy go for $1.1 million, it also left Jean-Paul Lemieux’s Femme en noir, estimated at $125,000 to $175,000, and his Madeleine, estimated at $125,000 to $175,000, unsold.

But there was at least one hot item across all auctions for the week, the Globe and Mail reported: works by William Kurelek. As the Globe has noted, all 15 Kureleks across the three auctions sold, “most for amounts well above their presale estimates.”

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Lise Cerny says:

Children School bound in Northern BC print #25/50 by William Kurelek do I find out the value? Thank you.

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