Posted by & filed under Cowley Abbott Updates.

2014.jpg?w=4902013 was a monumental and exciting year for Consignor Canadian Fine Art.  In June, a partnership began between Rob Cowley, Ryan Mayberry and Lydia Abbott to take, previously the online auction branch of Mayberry Fine Art, into a bricks-and-mortar business.  The vision of the new partnership was simple: to create a hybridized business model that combined tradition and technology, as well as the aspects of the auction and private gallery industries, providing an unparalleled level of personalized service to the Canadian art market.  After an astounding fall season, our team could not be happier with the reception of our vision and the success of our inaugural sales, not only securing our place within the continually changing art industry in Canada, but also providing us with clear feedback to continue our evolution in 2014.

During our Grand Opening event in September, we repeatedly heard from our guests that there was a clear sense of “something different and exciting” surrounding our firm.  Through the summer and early fall, our clients regularly met us with the same enthusiasm and optimism that our team projects, the individual visions and histories of Rob, Lydia, Ryan and Kate combining to provide a new and multi-tiered experience to art collectors.  We were humbled by the seemingly immediate acceptance of Consignor Canadian Fine Art from the industry and community, leading to the securement of strong consignments from clients from across North America and beyond.

Our first sale, the September Auction of Canadian Art performed extremely well.  Artwork by F.M. Bell-Smith, Manly MacDonald, Doris McCarthy, Molly Bobak, Bruno Cote, Ted Harrison, William Kurelek, Robert Genn, and Joe Fafard (among many others) attracted bids from across North America, as well as strong participation from Europe and Asia.  This inaugural auction provided clients the opportunity to engage in the services which we had discussed with them (and which had been promoted through the media) for months.  Feedback from our clients was extraordinary: the functionality and ease of use of our proprietary bidding software and website (allowing clients globally to participate in our sales at home or through any mobile device); the extensive hours of live previewing featured in our two-storied gallery space, allowing clients a less-hectic pace to view artwork of interest and the ability to arrange extended appointments with our specialists to discuss artwork of interest and how they might accentuate their current collection; and the convenience, simplicity, anonymity and social comfort of the online auction process (when presented through an innovative and properly-supported model with the deep support of enhanced customer service).

The November Fall Auction of Important Canadian Art created an interest and exuberance which the Consignor team could not have envisioned for introductory fine art auction and our entry into the semi-annual auction season of Canadian art.  An incredibly accepting and supportive response from collectors led to our team presenting an auction rich in interesting and important works of art from Canada’s leading historical, post-war and contemporary artists.  A print catalogue, a month of live previews (the most of any Canadian auction house during the fall) and extensive media promotion and attention from print, online and television outlets were just a few of the factors which aided in the November sale being a clear success, the first sale of its kind in Canada.  While the auction included the first ever online offering and sale of a work by Tom Thomson (in fact, the sale included two works by Thomson, both successfully finding buyers), also successfully selling were artworks by Cornelius Krieghoff, Frank Johnston, A.Y. Jackson, A.J. Casson, Edwin Holgate, J.W. Beatty, P.C. Sheppard, Sybil Andrews, Ray Mead, Harold Town, William Ronald, Jean Paul Riopelle, Jean-Paul Mousseau, Rita Letendre, Alex Janvier, Daphne Odjig, Charles Pacther, Ivan Eyre, Tom Hopkins, Michael Adamson, Kim Dorland and Wanda Koop, among many others.  The auction received interest from seasoned and new collectors internationally, dramatically increasing Consignor’s network and reach to collectors at all levels.

2014 already finds our team hard at work. The spring will feature three auctions (more about those in a moment), but also a continued development of our business model and the introduction of new services, events and projects.

Currently featured on our website and hanging in our Dundas Street gallery, Alex Cameron’s Glitzy Illusion is available for private sale.  This bold and energetic 2003 canvas is Consignor’s first work for offer in this manner.  The painting will be available for private sale until mid-February and there is no buyer’s premium charged to the purchaser.  Glitzy Illusion marks our firm’s initial foray into the private sale arena, an avenue available to clients who may wish to offer their works outside of the auction model.

We continually update and upgrade our technology to ensure that it meets the needs and convenience of our clientele, while also ensuring that it is up-to-date with operating system updates across all computer and mobile platforms.  Our goal is to ensure that our website and bidding software not only “operates” in the ever-changing technological arena, but that it excels, taking advantage of new developments while presenting the highest level of convenience and ease-of-use to our clients.

While we continue to maintain a strong presence through social media, allowing our clients to keep up to date with goings on at Consignor and communicate with our team directly, we have now introduced a new way for clients to reach us.  During business hours, clients can now live chat with our team directly through our website. No additional software is required and the chat function can be used on your PC, Mac or mobile device.  The new feature has already been embraced by visitors to our site, allowing clients an easy and quick way to communicate with us.  To try the feature, look for the red “Chat Now” tab at the lower right corner of the main page on the Consignor website.

Now for the spring sales! February will feature our Auction of International Art & Canadian and International Prints & Posters.  The sale will include a selection of original works of art by International artists, as well as prints and posters by Canadian and International artists.  Bidding will be open between February 19th and 26th, with live previewing of the sale beginning on February 12th and the consignment deadline falling on Thursday, January 30th.

March brings the Auction of Canadian Art.  This smaller auction is aimed at new collectors and those looking to supplement their existing collections of Canadian Art.  Bidding for the sale will be open between March 19th and 26th, live previewing will begin on March 12th and the consignment deadline will fall on Friday, February 21st.

Finally, the Consignor Spring Auction of Important Canadian Art will be open for bidding between May 21st and 29th.  As with our November auction, the sale will be previewed in our gallery space throughout the month of the auction and the print version of the auction catalogue will be available on May 1st.  We will be collecting consignments for this sale until Friday, April 4th.

We are in the midst of planning several exciting events and projects and details will be available soon.  Our specialists will be travelling across the country beginning this month, meeting with clients and securing consignments for the upcoming auctions.

If you feel that we can be of service in any regard, please do not hesitate to contact our team directly. We extend our thanks to our clients for the tremendous 2013 that our firm has enjoyed and we are pleased, honoured and excited to share 2014 with you!