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Sponsored / November 1, 2019

Cowley Abbott Fall Live Auction Showcases Stunning Examples of Artwork by Iconic Canadian Artists

Fall Live Auction of Important Canadian Art will take place on Tuesday, November 19
Jean Paul Lemieux, <em>Basse messe, dimanche</e>, 1983. Jean Paul Lemieux, Basse messe, dimanche, 1983.

Cowley Abbott Fine Art’s (formerly Consignor Canadian Fine Art) forthcoming Fall Live Auction of Important Canadian Art features noteworthy examples by Canada’s historical, post-war and contemporary artists, representing the country from coast to coast. Cowley Abbott will also be celebrating the rebrand of the auction house under the monikers of its principals, Canadian auction industry veterans Rob Cowley and Lydia Abbott.

One of the key highlights in the auction includes an exceptional work by one of Canada’s most celebrated Quebec masters, Jean Paul Lemieux. Basse messe, dimanche (Low Mass, Sunday) is a museum-quality canvas, painted in the classic style for which the artist is most celebrated, making its debut at auction with an estimate of $300,000–$500,000. This stunning painting depicts a group of parishioners exiting a church in the early morning, exposed to the winter cold under the harsh light of a white moon. Measuring nearly eight feet wide, this canvas is one of the largest of the period by Lemieux, a key figure in Canadian modernity.

Multiple key works by William Kurelek will be featured in the November 19th auction, including Pioneer Homestead on a Winter’s Evening (1971), with an estimate of $50,000–$70,000. Housed in a custom frame by Kurelek, the painting depicts a Ukrainian woman drawing water from a well in winter and is exemplary of the artist’s characteristic themes related to farming on the Prairies, Ukrainian heritage and the harsh beauty of the Western Canadian landscape. This painting, along with Brothers, has been entrusted to Cowley Abbott from the collection of a Ukrainian Canadian family in Toronto. Brothers is a large winter farming painting commissioned by the family following their purchase of Pioneer Homestead. This composition, estimated at $100,000–$150,000, presents two brothers walking together on a vast Prairie landscape.

Cowley Abbott is delighted to offer works by important historical Canadian artists, including works by the Group of Seven, Sybil Andrews, J.W. Beatty, André Biéler, J.W. Morrice, P.C. Sheppard, M.A. Suzor-Coté, Robert Pilot, Frederick Verner and Clarence Gagnon. Featured are two rare canvases by Cornelius Krieghoff, both from a private collection: Indian Encampment by a River, Autumn (1849) at $60,000–$80,000 and Hudson Bay Trader (1845–7) at $40,000–$60,000; and a 1936 painting by Emily Carr depicting the Strait of Juan de Fuca, a richly coloured work that comes from a United States private collection, available at auction for the first time for $125,000–$175,000.

Among the selection of historical works is a rare work by Canadian scientist, physician, painter and Nobel Prize recipient, Sir Frederick Banting. European Landscape (1925) was painted during Banting’s trip to Europe, where he accepted the prestigious Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his involvement in the discovery of insulin. The painting has a distinguished provenance that includes being privately owned by members of the Banting family. European Landscape has an estimate of $20,000–$30,000, which Cowley Abbott anticipates will exceed expectations.

The auction also includes a work by one of Canada’s earliest and most renowned champions of abstraction, Bertram Brooker. Autumn Bouquet makes its first appearance at auction at $20,000–$30,000. Post-war contemporary and abstraction artists are also strongly represented in the sale with works by David Blackwood, Jack Bush, Greg Curnoe, Sorel Etrog, Paterson Ewen, Joe Fafard, Betty Goodwin, Ted Harrison, Gershon Iskowitz, Maud Lewis, John Little, Jean McEwen, Norval Morrisseau, Kazuo Nakamura, William Perehudoff, Bill Reid, Goodridge Roberts, Otto Rogers, Gordon Smith and Takao Tanabe.

Live previews take place at the Cowley Abbott Gallery, located at 326 Dundas Street West (across the street from the AGO). Cowley Abbott’s Fall Live Auction of Important Canadian Art will take place on Tuesday, November 19, at 7 p.m. EST at the Gardiner Museum, located at 111 Queen’s Park, Toronto, Ontario. The complete auction listing can be viewed by following this link, and catalogues are available for purchase in the gallery or by mail by following this link.

Cowley Abbott is currently accepting consignments for its upcoming auctions. Cowley Abbott offers all-inclusive selling commissions and the lowest buyer’s premium in the industry. Those interested in consignment can arrange a complimentary and confidential consultation by contacting Cowley Abbott’s specialists at 1-866-931-8415 or