Cowley Abbott’s Fall Live Auction of Important Canadian Art, November 22, features important artworks by Jack Bush, Jean Paul Riopelle, Lawren Harris and William Kurelek, among many other Canadian masters.
Toronto, ON (November 1, 2021) – As the Canadian art market continues to experience overwhelming interest and activity, with the highest level of collector engagement in more than a decade, art auction house Cowley Abbott is returning to a live in-person auction event, the first in more than a year due to the pandemic. Cowley Abbott’s Fall Live Auction of Important Canadian Art takes place on Monday, November 22 at 7pm ET at the Four Seasons Hotel, 60 Yorkville Avenue, Toronto, and offers a hybrid of in-person, absentee, and real-time online and phone bidding.
In June, Cowley Abbott’s Spring Live Auction of Important Canadian Art saw a staggering 96 per cent of artworks sold, with two-thirds of the works exceeding the high-end of pre-auction expectation with active global bidding participation welcomed via absentee, telephone and real-time online bidding. The upcoming fall auction is also drawing significant pre-sale interest, with a registration list for limited in-person bidding.
“The pandemic has influenced a boom in the Canadian art market at auction. As collectors continue to spend more time at home, they are choosing to update and beautify their surroundings; while some are parting with rare and quality works of art that they have considered selling for years to make room for new work and still others are looking to art as a more active part of their investment portfolio,” said Rob Cowley, Canadian art specialist and President of Cowley Abbott. “It has led to many important and rare works being presented at auction and contributed to driving record-setting sales while countless individuals engage actively in their passion to collect.”
Among the Fall Auction highlights is Jack Bush’s Purple, Lime, Brown (1965) (auction estimate: $350,000 – $550,000), owned for decades by beloved singer and variety show host Andy Williams and his wife Deborah. The painting is an excellent example of Bush’s best work in oil and is from a significant period in his career. It was created the same year, and is of similar importance and quality to Bush’s Column on Browns, a canvas that set an artist record at auction, selling for $870,000 at Cowley Abbott in fall 2020. Purple, Lime, Brown is expected to attract similar interest from collectors.
Purple, Lime, Brown debuted to the public in 1965 during Bush’s first solo European exhibition at London’s Waddington Galleries. That year, Bush took a hiatus from showing in Canada to make a strong first impression overseas, reserving nine of his best paintings from 1964 and early 1965.
After Williams passed away in 2012, four significant Bush paintings from their collection went up for auction in 2013, however the estate held on to Purple, Lime, Brown until March 2021, when it was sold at auction in New York. With pandemic travel restrictions in place, and prioritizing safety, the painting could not be examined in person by the artist’s estate prior to the New York sale, leading to the painting being offered without its title, concrete date and confirmation of its history.
The painting returned to Canada, after 56 years abroad, where upon inspection with the painting removed from its stretcher, the artist’s inscription of title and date were revealed and its history fully researched and confirmed by the estate of Jack Bush, establishing the painting as Purple, Lime, Brown, an important 1965 work by the celebrated colour-field painter.
While the primary market for works by Canadian artists is in Canada, Cowley Abbott has seen a spike in global interest. This auction features several important Canadian works from global collections that could find a new home back in Canada.
For more highlights, an online catalogue and an interactive virtual preview, please visit CowleyAbbott.ca. Located across the street from the Art Gallery of Ontario on Dundas St. West in Toronto, Cowley Abbott is open to the public by appointment, allowing collectors to view artwork on offer in the gallery. Offering more previewing hours than any other major auction house this season, public viewing of the fall auction is open Monday to Saturday (and Sunday, November 21st) until the sale day on November 22nd.
Since its inception in 2013, Cowley Abbott’s live and online auctions have included headline-grabbing works such as a rare 100-year-old Tom Thomson portrait (Daydreaming, sold for $172,500); and a celebrated depiction of Kensington Market by William Kurelek (Hot Day in Kensington Market, sold for $472,000). Their inaugural live auction in May 2016 set the record for the highest-selling Algoma sketch by Lawren Harris, fetching $977,500, tripling the previous auction record. Their Fall 2020 virtual live auction set a new artist record for Jack Bush with Columns on Brown selling for $870,000 with their Spring 2021 virtual live auction witnessing an unprecedented 96% of artworks sold.
Those interested in consignment can arrange a complimentary and confidential consultation by contacting Cowley Abbott’s specialists at 1-866-931-8415 or [email protected]. Preliminary auction assessments are offered on a complimentary and confidential basis with no further obligation.