Huge Batch of Canadian Paintings up for Auction

Robert Heffel ~ Huge batch of Canadian paintings up for auction

Bill Doskoch, CTVNews.ca (article)

Date: Saturday Nov. 19, 2011 7:29 AM ET

Collectors of Canadian art are expected to fork over nearly $12 million when a batch of masterpieces goes up for auction this coming week.

One of the paintings up for bidding is “Nineteen Ten Remembered,” by painter Jean Paul Lemieux.

Robert Heffel of Heffel Fine Art Auction told Canada AM recently that it is one of Canada’s most recognized contemporary works of art.

“Certainly everyone in Quebec knows this image,” he said.

The painting, created in 1962, shows the artist as a boy in a sailor suit, backdropped by a slate-grey, cloudy sky. He is flanked by his unsmiling parents who would soon separate.

While it has been sold privately before, it has never been available on the open market before this auction in Toronto on Nov. 24.

Another Lemieux painting sold for $1 million in May, which was a record for one of the artist’s works. Heffel said the auction house is confident that “Nineteen Ten Remembered” will sell for more.

“The Canadian record for a contemporary work of art is $1.6 million, and we feel this will challenge that record as well,” he said.

The record was set by a work from Quebec artist Jean-Paul Riopelle, one of Canada’s best-known contemporary painters. His 1952 work “Grande Fete” is expected to fetch between $900,000 and $1.2 million.

In London, a major show of Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven’s work is rekindling interest in their work.

One of the pieces at auction is by group member Lawren Harris, whose “Rocky Mountain Sketch CXXI” is up for sale. The painting is of B.C.’s Mount Robson, the highest peak in the Canadian Rocky Mountains.

Heffel suggested the 1929 work will sell for between $300,000 and $500,000, but added that was a conservative estimate.

Proceeds from the sale of that work, along with B.C. painter Emily Carr’s “Glade,” will go to support Toronto’s Women’s College Hospital.

Franklin Carmichael was another member of the Group of Seven, which has come to define Canadian landscape painting. His “La Cloche Hills” is expected to sell for between $150,000 and $200,000.

While not a Group painter, Clarence Alphone Gagnon’s 1913 winter landscape classic, “Environs de Baie-Saint-Paul,” is expected to fetch between $200,000 and $300,000.

It had been hanging in the collection of Francois Dupre, owner of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Montreal. Many pieces from Dupre’s collection were once displayed in the hotel.

But the “Environs” painting has been in storage for almost a quarter-century, “so it’s sort of like a lost masterpiece,” Heffel said.

Albert H. Robinson’s “Baie-Saint-Paul” had been hanging in a Massachusetts barn with another of his works, so it also falls into the lost masterpiece category.

“The family didn’t know that these were valuable paintings. They were going through the boxes in the barn and Googled ‘Albert H. Robinson’.” They then realized the works were valuable, he said.

Heffel said Canadians will be the biggest customers for the works, which have bee previou

“Predominantly our clients are Canadians from across the country,” Heffel said, adding that the works on sale have been previewed across Canada this fall.

However, Europeans, Asians and Americans are also in the hunt, he said.

Art lovers in Toronto this Saturday can view the 204 works up for sale at 13 Hazelton Ave. The public is welcome.

And if you only have $60,000 to $80,000 to spend, consider bidding on Alberta-born painter William Kurelek’s “Returning to Camp.”

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