Lot # 137, Thomas John (Tom) Thomson, Birches and Cedar, Fall. Courtesy of heffel.com.
VANCOUVER, BC.- Heffel Fine Art Auction House set a new record sale price tonight when a rare Emily Carr painting sold for $2,164,500 in the second session of Heffel’s Live Spring Auction. Wind in the Treetops, a 36-1/2 x 21-1/4 inch oil on canvas, circa 1936-1939, is from the most sought-after period in Carr’s career – the mature period of the 1930s. Heffel Fine Art Auction House has previously sold two Carr paintings for more than $1-million and is the only auction house to reach that price point for her works. This ranks as the fourth highest priced painting in Canadian history.
“We were very fortunate to have a mature period Carr canvas of this calibre in our sale,” says Robert Heffel, principal of Heffel Fine Art Auction House. “A painting from this period is one of the rarest treasures in Canadian art, so it is not surprising we shattered the previous Carr record by $1 million.”
Tonight’s sale result of $11.3-million was well past the $6 - $9-million presale estimate for Heffel’s two sessions. The Canadian Post-War & Contemporary Art, which commenced at 4 p.m. PST, had sales totalling $4.7-million. The second session of Fine Canadian Art began at 7 p.m. PST and had a sales total of $6.6-million. Both sessions were held before a crowd of 300 people at Vancouver’s new Convention Centre overlooking Coal Harbour.
Tom Thomson’s Birches and Cedar, Fall was another highlight, selling for $1,404,000 – well above its estimate of $600,000 to $800,000. The oil on panel, circa 1915, is embossed with the Thomson estate stamp and highlights the ever-changing fall landscape of the Ontario woods.
During the second session a record was set when John William Beatty’s Canoe Lake, Algonquin Park sold for $222,300. Beatty strongly influenced Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven in its early days.
Three other Emily Carr lots showed well in the second session. A Forest Clearing, a colourful oil from 1935 sold for $187,200; Shore and Forest (Cordova Bay) sold for $128,700; andTangle, a 1937 oil on board forest scene also sold for $128,700.
“The Fine Canadian Art session was one of our finest collections of artwork to date, featuring a number of Group of Seven canvases and an exceptional Carr work,” says David Heffel, president of Heffel Fine Art Auction House. “Once again, we were delighted to see consistently strong bidding throughout both sales.”
Highpoints in the first session included the sale of Jean-Paul Riopelle’s Jouet, a drip painting that sold for $1,170,000. Jouet; Thomson’s Birches and Cedar, Fall; and Carr’s Wind in the Tree Tops are the only three paintings to sell for over $1-million in the entire spring 2009 auction season. Alexander Colville’s Coastal Figure was also among the first session’s top selling paintings, with a sale price of $526,500.
In the two sessions, 21 paintings exceeded the $100,000 mark and 15 records were set.
The complete list of the top 10 paintings from the two sales and the list of new Canadian fine art records follows below. High resolution images of the top paintings in the auction are cleared for media use and can be downloaded from the newsroom page of www.heffel.com
In total, the Spring Auction featured 159 Canadian works. Information on the pieces and artists can also be found at www.heffel.com
Top Ten Paintings Sold – Heffel Fine Art’s two sessions – June 17, 2009
Below is a list of the top 10 highest selling paintings from Heffel Fine Art’s Post-War & Contemporary Art Auction and the Fine Canadian Art Auction combined. All prices include the 17 per cent buyers premium added to the hammer price.