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News / December 19, 2013

Auction Houses Gear Up for Selling Exhibitions of Canadian Art

Marcelle Ferron's <em>Untitled</em> will be part of the Sotheby's selling exhibition themed on Canadian abstraction that opens in New York on February 14. Marcelle Ferron's Untitled will be part of the Sotheby's selling exhibition themed on Canadian abstraction that opens in New York on February 14.

Two auction houses have recently announced further plans for their first selling exhibitions of Canadian art.

Increasingly common in the international auction world, selling exhibitions involve auction houses mounting art shows to achieve sales of works—without having to put them under the gavel at an actual live or online auction. But such exhibitions have been rare in the Canadian sector, until now.

This week, Sotheby’s announced its plans to hold a New York selling exhibition themed on Canadian abstraction from February 14 to March 9, 2014.

The Sotheby’s exhibition will take place at S|2, the private sale and gallery arm of Sotheby’s global contemporary art department. A release states that it will include mid-century Canadian abstract art from members of the Automatistes, Plasticiens, Painters 11 and their contemporaries. Lots so far include a Riopelle Composition of 1950, Jack Bush’s Boomerang of 1969 and Jacques Hurtubise’s Aventurine of 1965.

This summer, a Christie’s sale made evident that Bush’s work is of interest in the international marketplace. The Globe and Mail reported that the auction house’s mid-July sale saw it draw $1.6 million for four Bush paintings, breaking live auction records for his work.

Meanwhile, in Toronto, Waddington’s is due to open a pop-up selling exhibition of Gary Taxali‘s work on the evening of January 30, 2014. Titled “Shanti Town,” it is to include works in various media by the Toronto-based illustrator and artist.

In 2012, the Royal Canadian Mint released an edition of six Taxali-designed coins, while this year Harry Rosen debuted Canada-themed silk pocket squares by him. Recently, new illustrations by Taxali were published in the New Yorker and Playboy. In the past, his work has also been commissioned by the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Taxali’s pop-up exhibition at Waddington’s will conclude on February 9, 2014.

This article was corrected on January 20, 2014. The original copy indicated that Taxali’s selling exhibition opened on the evening of January 29, not January 30.

Leah Sandals

Leah Sandals is a writer and editor based in Toronto. Her arts journalism has appeared in the Toronto Star, National Post and Globe and Mail, among other publications, and her creative work has been published in Prism, Room and Freefall. She can be reached via