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Sponsored / August 31, 2020

Cowley Abbott Fine Art Live Auction Showcases Iconic Works by Celebrated Canadian Artists

The auction on September 24th features significant artworks by Canada’s pre-eminent history, post-war and contemporary artists
Jean McEwen, <em>Tableux sans paroles #3</em>, 1973. Oil on canvas. 40 x 40 in. Jean McEwen, Tableux sans paroles #3, 1973. Oil on canvas. 40 x 40 in.

Cowley Abbott Fine Art’s forthcoming Live Auction of Important Canadian and International Art on September 24th features significant artworks by Canada’s pre-eminent historical, post-war and contemporary artists, many of which will be going under the hammer for the first time. A key highlight in the auction are two exceptional watercolours by celebrated Canadian artist James Wilson Morrice. Study for ‘The Pond, West Indies, and Study for ‘Village Street, West Indies’, each with a pre-sale estimate of $20,000 to $30,000, make their debut at auction. The artist’s technique and ability are showcased in these exemplary watercolours, done as preparatory studies for paintings in the collection of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, which are among the best in Morrice’s oeuvre.

The auction includes a stunning painting by Jean McEwen, Tableaux sans paroles #3, that showcases the artist’s experimentation with transparency and sensuality. McEwen’s distinctive approach to art-making is exemplified in this major abstract canvas, estimated at $40,000 to $60,000. Other notable post-war offerings include works by artists such as Greg Curnoe, Jack Bush, Kazuo Nakamura, Gershon Iskowitz, Gordon Smith, Tom Hodgson, Walter Yarwood, Paterson Ewen, Jacques Hurtubise and others.

An exciting inclusion in the catalogue auction is a painting by one of the most recognized artists of the twentieth century, Salvador Dalí. While he is best known for his Surrealist works, Dalí’s noteworthy artistic development was rooted in historical painting and early Modernism, as evidenced in Nature morte aux pommes. Painted in 1923, this composition was likely acquired directly from the artist around 1948-1951. Estimated at $150,000 to $200,000, this accomplished work presents a rare opportunity to own an early painting by this seminal artist.

Among the strong selection of historical works is a rare watercolour by David Milne, Fox Hill on a Rainy Day (Boston Corners). Executed in 1920, this delicate work epitomizes Milne’s strong predilection for line and precision. Estimated at $60,000 to $80,000, the work illustrates the influence of the avant-garde European art movement on the Canadian. Two important historical works are from the collection of Senator E. Leo Kolber, including a rare canvas by Cornelius Krieghoff, Skinner’s Cave and Owl’s Head Mountain, Lake Memphremagog, and The Fruit Shop, Ottawa by Kathleen Moir Morris. 2021 marks the centenary of the discovery of insulin by Frederick Grant Banting, and Cowley Abbott is pleased to be entrusted with three works by the esteemed artist, including Cobalt (1930). Further historical offerings in the auction include the Group of Seven, J.W. Beatty, Maurice Cullen, Robert Pilot, George A. Reid, Clarence Gagnon and Frank Armington.

Multiple key sculptures by Sorel Etrog will be featured in the September 24th auction, including Sunbird II. This 1963 sculpture was executed during a prolific period in the artist’s career when he explored the maturation of the modern abstract form. We are delighted to offer numerous works by accomplished female Canadian artists, such as Rita Letendre, Joyce Wieland, Molly Lamb Bobak, Dorothy Knowles, Nora Collyer, Kathleen Moir Morris, Laura Muntz, Maud Lewis, Henrietta Mabel May and Doris McCarthy. The auction includes three paintings by Canada’s most renowned Indigenous artist, Norval Morrisseau. These fresh-to-auction works illustrate the artist’s powerful and unique style, drawn from Anishinaabe cultural traditions, and were all acquired directly from the artist.

Our gallery is currently open by appointment for previews, welcoming clients to view the artworks on offer within an inviting environment where we have applied safety precautions for distancing. We welcome you to book a private preview appointment and to view the complete auction listing by following this link.

Cowley Abbott’s Live Auction of Important Canadian and International Art will take place on Thursday, September 24th at 7 pm EST at The Four Seasons Hotel Toronto. Located at 60 Yorkville Avenue, the auction will take place in the Four Seasons’ largest ballroom, the Aria, allowing a high degree of comfort, spacing and convenience to those attending the auction.

For collectors not attending the auction in person, we will be offering expanded telephone and absentee bidding options. The auction will also feature online bidding through an international third-party firm and live streaming will provide a connection for interested collectors as well.

Cowley Abbott is currently accepting consignments for its upcoming auctions and if you feel our firm can be of service, we would be pleased to provide a complimentary and confidential consultation. Please contact our specialists at 1-866-931-8415 or