Records Broken & New Traditions Established for Consignor This Season
Old Orchard, a major 1940 painting by Franklin Carmichael was sold for $475,000 during the spring auction season, the highest price paid for the painter’s work in eight years and one of the highest values ever achieved for the painter’s work by an auction firm. The price was just one of the many highlights encountered by Consignor Canadian Fine Art this spring.
The Spring Live Auction of Important Canadian Art, held May 25th, was an evening of new traditions and continued success for Consignor, the auction establishing strong prices for historical, post-war and contemporary works of quality and rarity. The auction was held for the first time at Toronto’s Gardiner Museum, the downtown venue filled to capacity with an electric environment of excitement palpable from the drop of the hammer on the first lot sold. The classy and cozy setting was instantly popular with clients, paddles comfortably waving in the air throughout the night.
Excited bidding participation came through not only in the room, but through spirited telephone and absentee bidding, pushing choice artworks well beyond expectation. Drawing strong reaction from the room was the sale of Three Black Cats, the small oil painting by Nova Scotia folk artist Maud Lewis fetching a record $36,800 (prices posted include applicable Buyer’s Premium), almost double the previous auction record and five times the presale estimate. Appreciation for Atlantic Canadian artists continued with David Blackwood’s Fire Down on the Labrador selling for $48,300, doubling its estimate and marking the second highest price ever achieved for the iconic imagery created by the Newfoundlander printmaker.
Artwork by Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven continued to excited collectors during the spring season, with notable results including: Tom Thomson’s Fallen Timber (Algonquin) selling for $125,000; Edwin Holgate’s Autumn Leaves selling for $75,000; Madawaska, a 20 x 26 inch canvas by A.Y. Jackson fetching $69,000; A.J. Casson’s captivating Old Hotel, Elora selling for $36,800 while Casson’s Byng Inlet fetched $29,900. Works on paper by the Group saw record prices set with Lawren Harris’ Snow-Covered Trees more than doubling its estimate to reach $50,600 and A.Y. Jackson’s Gulf of St. Lawrence selling for $14,950, both auction records for works on paper by the artists.
Further historical highlights displayed a love for portraiture from collectors this season with an enchanting Jean Paul Lemieux portrait fetching $48,300; Randolph Hewton’s Portrait of Thomas Archer Esq. selling for $14,950; and Hal Ross Perrigard’s Vere reaching $10,925, each exceeding their pre-sale estimate.
Post-War and Contemporary Canadian works performed notably during the May 25th live auction with: Ted Harrison’s The Grecian House (Dawson City) selling for $34,500, Sorel Etrog’s “Ferrari red” Sadko fetching $27,600, Paul-Émile Borduas’ Abstract Composition watercolour reaching $21,850 and Rita Letendre’s L’Enchenteur selling for $17,250.
The May live auction was surrounded by Consignor’s March and June Online Auctions, sales which are carefully catered not only to established collectors looking to supplement their existing collections but also to new collectors who continue to hunt for gems to create an assemblage. Feverish online bidding led to collectors across Canada and beyond being awarded notable works of art by A.J. Casson, J.W. Beatty, Manly MacDonald, H.S. Palmer, Alan Collier, Yvonne McKague Housser, Goodridge Roberts, Jack Bush, Alex Colville, Norval Morrisseau, David Urban, Angela Leach, and Kim Dorland, among many others.
We extend our thanks to the consignors, buyers, bidders and clients who helped to ensure another season of success for Consignor Canadian Fine Art. Preparation has already begun for our fall sales, including the Live Auction of Important Canadian Art (to be held on November 23rd at the Gardiner Museum). We are currently accepting consignments for the upcoming sales and our team would be delighted to meet with you in our downtown Toronto gallery or during our national travels this summer. The summer months feature a selling exhibition in the gallery and online, allowing clients the opportunity to consider a variety of work by Canadian artists, available for immediate sale (full listing available here).