What Recession? Record Sales of Canadian Art

Emily Carr’s War Canoe, Alert Bay brought in a record $1.23 million at auction this week, making it the most valuable Canadian water-color ever sold.

The 1908 work was part of a record-setting auction by Heffel Fine Art of some of Canada’s most venerated works, including Jean Paul Lemieux’s Nineteen Ten Remembered.  

Lemieux’s famous painting brought in $2.34 million, a record for a contemporary work of Canadian art sold in Canada.  The 1962 oil surpassed the $1.6 million set in 2006  for Jean-Paul Riopelle’s Il était une fois une ville.

“The little boy is Jean Paul Lemieux with both of his parents on either side. Shortly after that, his parents went through a separation. There’s a communication between the eyes, The parents are speaking without words. The boy is looking deeply at the viewer.” –Vancouver Sun

Nineteen Ten Remembered is an iconic image in Quebec, where posters and prints of the painting are widely hung, but the original has never been displayed in public.  Lemieux, who died in 1990, gave it to his daughters, who sold it to another family, and the work moved through several others before coming to auction.

Rocky Mountain Sketch CXXI (Mount Robson), a small but powerful oil by Lawren Harris, member of the Group of Seven, went for $1.85 million, almost four times the $500,000 Heffel had estimated.

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