TORONTO (Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press) – A new online auction company for high-end Canadian art is entering the market. Consignor Canadian Fine Art says it will officially open its doors across the street from the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto on Aug. 1. The move means the former Mayberry Fine Art division of Consignor.ca will become a separate, full-time auction venture. Consignor will offer auction and appraisal services and plans to hold its first semi-annual online sale of premiere historical and post-war Canadian art in the second half of November. The new company partners are Rob Cowley, Lydia Abbott and Ryan Mayberry, who will act as principals.
Cowley is former vice-president and chief auctioneer with Joyner Waddington’s Canadian Fine Art; Abbott is a former Canadian fine art specialist with Joyner Waddington’s and office director with Heffel Fine Art; and Mayberry is a partner with Mayberry Fine Art and founder of Consignor.ca. Cowley says the company comes at a time when more fine-art consignors and buyers are viewing the online auction world as a “viable and strong option.” It also comes just a few months after Sotheby’s Canada announced it was ending regular live auctions in the country. “What we’ve been finding more and more, certainly what I witnessed at Joyner, was the increased comfort and certainly the increase in quality and participation in the online field for Canadian art in Canada,” he said Wednesday. “Joyner, I think our first online auction we grossed about $60,000, and last year alone we did more than $1 million in online sales.” Consignor’s November online sale will have a full-colour and academic auction catalogue and will offer live previews in the gallery. Cowley says Mayberry Fine Art has already started collecting works for the November sale, which he expects will have between 100 and 200 lots. With several galleries across the country, Mayberry Fine Art has over 40 years of experience in the Canadian art market.