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With Glowing Art: Heffel’s Fall 2012 Auction Will Present An Unparalleled Survey Of This Country’s Greatest Masterworks and Artists from Coast-to-Coast

by aanationtalk on October 30, 2012696 Views

  • The fall live auction is expected to achieve between $7M and $10M*, by conservative estimates
  • The auction is led by museum-quality works by Lawren Harris, J.E.H Macdonald, William Kurelek and Emily Carr
  • Heffel itself is a Canadian success story: Canadian-owned, family-run and the undisputed leader of Canadian art at auction
  • Previews to be held in Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto, in advance of the live auction in Toronto on November 22

Toronto, Oct. 29, 2012 – Heffel Fine Art Auction House is celebrating the vast talent of this nation with a fall collection of masterworks that will be auctioned live on Thursday, November 22 in Toronto.  The paintings and sculptures featured truly represent the culture of Canada, with many pieces having not been publicly displayed in decades.

These works tell every aspect of the story of our great nation, ranging from A.Y Jackson’s harrowing mining expeditions in the Northwest Territories to Emily Carr’s coveted renderings of First Nations subject matter.” explains David K.J. Heffel, president of Heffel Fine Art Auction House. “Our goal is to champion and ensure that Canadian artists continue to achieve the global recognition they truly deserve.”

With over 30 auctions to date, Heffel is the undisputed leader of Canadian art at auction, having sold well over a quarter of a billion dollars in Canadian art. This fall, the 162 lots are expected to achieve between $7M to $10M, according to conservative estimates. Heffel’s spring 2012 live auction surpassed all expectations, reaching $14.6Mand setting numerous records for Canadian art. All ten of the top ten grossing auctions of Canadian art of all time were conducted by Heffel, and, since 2004, Heffel has been responsible for 60% of the overall Canadian auction market.

Harris, Macdonald, Carr & Kurelek
Among the star lots this season is Hurdy Gurdy (estimate: $400,000-$600,000), an exploration of Toronto’s Ward district by Lawren Stewart Harris.  This early Impressionist work looks at the area bounded by College Street, Queen Street, Yonge Street and University Avenue.  While today it is the site of enormous urban prosperity, at the time Harris was finding extraordinary beauty in exploring the city’s poorer working class neighbourhoods.   “Hurdy Gurdy is a work that Harris himself treasured and kept in his own private collection, eventually gifting it to his daughter, Margaret.” explains Robert Heffel, vice-president of Heffel Fine Auction House.  “We are delighted to be able to include this in our auction, making it available to the public for the very first time.”

Harris was a member of the heralded Group of Seven who remain Canada’s most recognizable art exports.  The auction features 36 works by various members, which, when totalled, are estimated to fetch between $2.35M and$3.25M.  Another member, James Edward Hervey (J.E.H.) Macdonald, is well represented with eight works, includingStudy for Lake O’Hara and Cathedral Mountain, Rockies (estimate: $200,000$250,000Morning, Mountain Camp (Cathedral Peak from O’Hara Camp) (estimate: $200,000-$250,000Algoma Sketch estimate: $100,000$150,000) and Brook in Autumn (estimate: $100,000-$150,000).

This is a significant year for William Kurelek and we have seen tremendous interest in his work,” said Robert Heffel. Leading the lots is a major museum scale work, King of the Mountain (estimate: $250,000-$350,000), that is among the largest format paintings (99 cm x 183.5 cm) by the artist ever offered by Heffel.  Additional lots include Kurelek’s interpretations of Canadian life, and the Prairies in particular, including A Sketch for the Poem, Pacem in Terris(estimate: $50,000$70,000Pastoral (estimate: $25,000-$35,000) and After Achievement, What? (estimate: $40,000-$60,000). With eight superior works in total, Heffel will no doubt fuel the continued interest in this artist who was the subject of a major travelling retrospective (William Kurelek The Messenger which was in Victoria, Winnipeg and Hamilton), a new coffee-table book and will be seen in the upcoming re-release of the documentary film “William Kurelek’s The Maze“.

The auction also features seven extraordinary works by Emily Carr, including Skidegate (estimate: $400,000-600,000) a celebrated oil on board, which was among the major pieces featured in the 1927 National Gallery of Canada exhibit.  Carr’s Frivolous September – Up the Gorge (Blue Sky and Forest) (estimate: $200,000-250,000), was acquired from the artist by Surgeon-Captain Charles H. Best and family, one of Canada’s best-known scientists and the co-discoverer of insulin.  Included with the work are handwritten and typed exchanges between the Bests, Emily Carr and friend Ira Dilworth.  In one exchange about the paintings, Margaret Best told Carr, “I am sure you don’t like to see them go,” to which Carr replied, “I don’t mind, when they are going to people who will love them.”   Copies of the letters will be included with the work.

Additional highlights of the live auction include:

  • Henry Sandham’s Skating is among the oldest Canadian works to be sold by Heffel.  Signed and dated in 1886, this work, much like the Impressionists of the day, portrays the leisure activities of a new emergent middle class, in this case, ice skating.
  • An avid traveler who embraced adventure, artist Alexander Young (A.Y.) Jackson visited a radium mine 440 kilometres north of Yellowknife in 1937 and painted  Radium Mine (estimate$200,000-$300,000).  This work bears important historical significance and was acquired directly from the artist by Gilbert A. LaBine of LaBine Mines.
  • Eight works by Quebec’s Jean Paul Lemieux on offer include the panoramic Montréal l’hiver (estimate: $250,000-$350,000), Les enfants de la ville (estimate: $200,000-300,000) and La femme en noir (estimate: $125,000-$175,000). Last fall, Heffel auctioned Nineteen Ten Remembered, one of the most iconic images in Canadian art, for a record shattering CAD $2.34 million, setting worldwide records for post-war and contemporary Canadian art sold at auction.
  • Additional important works by Post-War and Contemporary artists include Jack Hamilton Bush’s Blue Bird (estimate$80,000-$100,000), a rare canvas from Guido Molinari’s Black and White period Untitled – Black & White (estimate$70,000-$90,000) and several works by Jean-Paul Riopelle including Sans titre (estimate: $150,000-$180,000).
  • The consignor’s proceeds from Alfred Joseph (A.J.) Casson’s October – Madawaska Country (estimate: $80,000-$100,000) will be donated to establish a bursary for students in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia.
  • From E.J. Hughes and Gordon Appelbe Smith on the West Coast to Alexander Colville and Christopher Pratt in Atlantic Canada, the auction covers Canada’s diverse styles and landscapes, both urban and remote.

Heffel, a Canadian-owned, family-run business has dominated the Canadian art scene since it was founded in 1978. This year marks the ten year anniversary of Heffel’s Toronto gallery. Today, along with a permanent gallery inMontreal, Heffel counts a team of 25 experts across the country and is trusted by the globe’s top buyers and consigners of Canadian Art.  This season, consigners include the family of artist Lawren S. Harris, the family of scientist Dr. Charles H. Best & Mrs. Margaret Mahon Best, the estate of Edgar and Dorothy Davidson, the family of prospector Gilbert A. Labine, the estate of Theodosia Dawes Bond Thornton and the family of diplomat Mr. and Mrs. Hume Wrong, among others.

The Heffel fall auction will be presented in two separate live sessions: Canadian Post-War & Contemporary Art at 4:00 pm, followed by the Fine Canadian Art session at 7:00 pm. Heffel was the first auction house in Canada to split historical and contemporary Canadian art into separate sales and is the only one that produces separate catalogues for each session. In addition, there is a third online auction, which opens November 1 and closes November 29 and will feature 250 lots. Heffel was also the first Canadian auction house to offer online auctions, beginning in 1999, and holds the record for highest grossing online auction of Canadian works ($2.4M in 2007).

Heffel’s Fall 2012 Live Auction Schedule
To give interested buyers from across Canada a chance to view these extraordinary works, many on display for the first time in generations, the collection is being previewed in three cities: 

  • Vancouver Preview- October 27 to October 30 at Heffel Gallery Vancouver, 2247 Granville Street
  • Montreal Preview- November 8 to November 10 at Galerie Heffel Montreal, 1840 Sherbrooke Street West
  • Toronto Preview – November 17 to November 22 at Heffel Gallery Toronto, 13 Hazelton Avenue
  • Live Auction (Toronto) – Thursday, November 22, 2012, Park Hyatt Hotel, Queen’s Park Ballroom, 4 Avenue Road,Toronto
    • 4:00 PM PST, Canadian Post-War & Contemporary Art
    • 7:00 PM PST, Fine Canadian Art

For more details on the previews and live auction, and access to the online catalogues, visit
To download PDFs of the full live auction catalogues, please click here for Part 1 and Part 2.

About Heffel Fine Art Auction House 
Heffel has sold more Canadian art than any other auctioneer worldwide, with over $300 million in art auction sales since 1995, and has conducted the most valuable live auctions of Canadian art.  Heffel is led by the most experienced team of fine art specialists in Canada who enjoy providing transparent expert service because they believe that art inspires the human spirit.  With offices and representatives in Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Calgary, Heffel provides superior client services to both sellers and buyers nationwide.  In addition to full-colour printed catalogues, Heffel publishes its entire live auction online at, from initial promotion and illustrated lot listings, to the auction’s live multi-camera webcast and final sale results.

Follow us on Twitter @HeffelAuction
Find our YouTube Channel

* Heffel’s Third Session November Online Auction has an additional 1.5 million dollars of Canadian Art on offer

For further information:

Media contact:
For more information, to schedule an interview or media viewing, or for high-resolution images, please contact:

Mercedes Smith
NATIONAL Public Relations

David Heffel / Robert Heffel

Heffel Fine Art Auction House
604-418-6505 / 604-418-0100 /


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