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Consignor’s Online Auction of Works on Paper, Prints & Books is a fantastic place to begin for someone new to the world of collecting art. The February sale offers a selection of prints, drawings, oil and watercolour paintings, photography and books to choose from in a broad range of prices, for both the emerging and seasoned collector. Purchasing a work on paper is often a more affordable opportunity to own an original work of art, or a print by a prominent artist whose original works are less accessible.

Presented below are some great examples of quality artworks offered in the February auction, all of which have estimates below $1000. Browse by your preferred subject matter, from calming landscapes, still lifes and street scenes to bold abstracts and expressive figural works. Keep in mind there is a total of 237 lots in the auction, so please visit our online catalogue for the entire selection.


Robert McInnis, Farm in Sunshine

Lot #219: RFM McInnis
Farm in Sunshine
watercolour, 9 x 12 ins
Estimated: $150.00 – $200.00

Tom Forrestall, Lumber DealerLot #85: Thomas de Vany Forrestall
Lumber Dealer
watercolour, 9 x 12 ins
Estimated: $700.00 – $900.00

Read more »

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As we reflect on the past year, Consignor Canadian Fine Art wishes to extend our sincere appreciation to our clients and the Canadian art community for its continued support and participation throughout a momentous and record-breaking 2017.

On November 23rd, Consignor held its Fall Live Auction of Important Canadian Art, the second of our semi-annual live auctions taking place at the Gardiner Museum. The sale presented a strong and well-rounded selection of artworks spanning across Canadian art history. Compositions by historical artists from Cornelius Krieghoff to the Group of Seven and the Beaver Hall Group were well represented in the sale. The auction also featured abstract paintings by members of post-war movements, including the Automatistes and Painters Eleven, as well as works by east coast realist painters and contemporary Canadian artists.  Continue Reading…

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Lawren Harris, Lake SuperiorLake Superior Fetches $161,100, Almost Tripling Previous Auction Record for a Work on Paper by the Group of Seven Artist

(Toronto – November 23, 2017) – The preparatory work for of one of Lawren Harris’ most renowned canvases, Lake Superior (I.D. 463) sold for nearly five times its auction value setting a new record for a pencil sketch by the Group of Seven artist, fetching $161,000 (significantly above its pre-estimate of $20,000 – $30,000; all prices include a 15 per cent buyer’s premium, the lowest in the industry). The sketch made its auction debut last night at Consignor Canadian Fine Art’s live auction event in Toronto, smashing the previous record for a Harris sketch of $64,900. The exceptional quality of the sketchpad drawing, once owned by the painter’s wife, Bess Harris, along with its rarity and historical significance, helped to propel the bidding to achieve a new auction standard for a Harris work on paper.

“Although we anticipated this exceptional work would garner significant interest, we’re thrilled to have achieved a new record result for this important piece of narrative in Harris’s creative process, particularly a sketch that is connected to one of his masterpieces,” said Rob Cowley, President of Consignor Canadian Fine Art. “Today’s results continue to illustrate Harris as one of our country’s most celebrated and iconic artists.”

Another highlight of Consignor’s fall auction was a watercolour painted in 1911 by Emily Carr during her artistic training in France.  European Street Scene nearly doubled its opening bid to sell for $276,000 (including premium).  The painting was one of many notable works acquired this past summer during Consignor’s Art Roadshow that travelled to 10 cities from coast-to-coast, inviting the public to bring in works of art for valuation. European Street Scene emerged out of the firm’s visit to Calgary during the tour.

Solid auction results were also achieved for the following works collected from across Canada:

  • A.J. Casson, Bridge Over Humber River, one of the first outdoor sketches by the artist, sold for $32,200, exceeding its pre-sale high estimate. Consigned from a collector in British Columbia.
  • Alex Colville, Recording Line Zero, Near Nijmegen, a rare war-period watercolour fetched $34,500, one of the highest prices ever achieved for a work on paper by the artist. Secured from a collection in New Brunswick.
  • Three Black Cats by Maud Lewis, the most popular subject by the East Coast artist, fetched $20,700 (doubling its opening bid, $10,000 – $15,000). This was another work discovered during Consignor’s Art Roadshow in Ottawa. The painting, inherited from the owner’s mother, was tucked away in the family’s basement for decades. It was secured during Consignor’s summer travels when a friend had alerted the owner to the possibility she owned a popular and valuable Maud Lewis work, after seeing a similar painting in the news that was sold by Consignor in the spring for $36,800 (an auction record for the artist). It was a tremendous evening for the work of Maud Lewis, with all seven works on offer achieving prices in excess of the high-end of pre-sale expectation and one rare, large-scale painting, Team of Oxen Ploughing, selling for $32,200, within reach of Consignor’s existing auction record for the painter.

Post-War and Contemporary selections attracted fierce bidding throughout the evening auction, with many works achieving prices at or above pre-auction estimates.

Featured on the front cover of the Fall Auction catalogue, Michael Snow‘s 1958 canvas Off Minor attracted strong bidding on Thursday evening, the rare painting selling for $57,500, at the high end of expectation. The painting had been held in a single Toronto collection for decades following its creation, the Consignor auction its first opportunity for acquisition since the late 1950s.

Consignor Vice President and Senior Specialist Lydia Abbott shared, “We are thrilled with the performance of our catalogue cover lot by Michael Snow, a result which underscores collector’s interest in the period of the artist’s career as well as the significance of the period in Canadian art history.”

Two works by Prairies painter William Kurelek captivated collectors during Consignor’s month-long previews, leading to feverish competition within the auction gallery, Arrived Too Early achieving $29,900 (just short of doubling its estimate) and I Hate Water (A Cat’s Loss of Dignity), portraying a feline’s unexpected dip in a pond, selling for $25,300 (exceeding the high-end of expectation).

Saskatchewan painter William Perehudoff‘s canvases proved to be in demand during the evening, AC-78-20 nearly doubled its opening bid to sell for $27,600, while Arcturus #32 was hammered down at $14,950, to more than double its opening bid after a battle in the auction gallery.

Consignor Canadian Fine Art closes their fall sale with a November/December Online Auction (with bidding open between November 29th and December 6th). The firm has already begun collecting for their 2018 auctions, including the Spring Live Auction of Important Canadian Art, scheduled to take place in late May (date to be announced).

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William Perehudoff, AC-78-20

William Perehudoff, AC-78-20

Auction Showcases Important Non-Figurative Works in Canadian Art History

Consignor’s Fall Live Auction of Canadian Art presents an impressive selection of abstract painting from artists across the country and through the decades. Early ventures into abstraction in Canada occurred in the 1920s and 1930s, although they were sporadic and inconsistent. These artists, notably Kathleen Munn, Bertram Brooker, Lawren Harris and Jock MacDonald, were heavily influenced by European artistic movements, namely Cubism, Surrealism and Symbolism. An examination of the abstract works in Consignor’s November sale can help illustrate the story of how abstraction emerged and developed throughout Canada in the following decades.

Jean Paul Riopelle, Sans Titre (1946)In the 1940s, Montreal gave rise to the highly-influential Automatistes, Canada’s first avant-garde art movement. Under the leadership of Paul-Émile Borduas, a group of young artists rebelled against their artistically conservative and politically and religiously repressive province. They strove for creative spontaneity, free from academic rules.

After reading André Breton’s “Le Surréalisme et la peinture” in 1945, Jean-Paul Riopelle was inspired to break away from tradition to pursue non-representational painting. The young artist created several small watercolours in the next two years, consisting of web-like black lines, inspired by Surrealism and Breton’s automatic writing techniques, such as Sans titre of 1946, lot 6 in Consignor’s November sale.

Marcelle Ferron, Sans Titre (1949)Another member of the Automatistes, Marcelle Ferron was encouraged by Borduas to abandon landscape painting in favour of a more radical abstraction. From 1946 to 1953, Ferron preferred a ‘sgraffito’ technique, applying multiple layers of pigment and scraping away between applications with a palette knife. This signature approach of Ferron is exemplified in the colourful layers of paint in Sans titre (1949), lot 101 in the Live Auction.

Harold Town, Clandeboy RepriseIn the following decade abstraction spread across Canada. Toronto exploded as an art centre in the 1950s, largely influenced by the Abstract Expressionists in New York. Harold Town was a founder and member of the Painters Eleven, a group of Toronto abstract artists that exhibited together during the 1950s. Rich colour and thick paint application, as exemplified in Clandeboy Reprise (1959), lot 71, are characteristic of Town’s approach to abstraction, inspired by the New York School.

Michael Snow, Off Minor (1958)Contemporary artist Michael Snow exhibited in Toronto in the mid-to-late 1950s at the Greenwich Gallery. Though today he is known as a pioneer of conceptualist and multimedia art throughout the world, Snow’s work of these years were also heavily influenced by American abstract artists such as De Kooning, Kline, and Rothko. Off Minor (1958), lot 25 in Consignor’s November auction, exemplifies Snow’s affiliation with avant-garde abstract movements at the time, shortly prior to creating his famous Walking Woman Works.

A notable and influential group of Canadian abstract artists formed in Regina in the 1960s, known as the Regina Five. Founding member Ron Bloore was instrumental in starting the Emma Lake workshops as a way for practising artists to break from the artistic isolation they felt in the prairies. As a professor of art history and archaeology, the influence of archeological excavation and ancient civilizations worked their way into Bloore’s painting.The monochromatic palette of Untitled, lot 86, references the white marble buildings and sculptures of ancient Greece and the Classical period.

Ron Bloore, UntitledDuring the Emma Lake Artists’ Workshops held in 1962-63, Saskatchewan artist William Perehudoff was introduced to Post-Painterly Abstraction by art critic Clement Greenberg and American artist Kenneth Noland. Many of the artist’s wide horizontal canvases of the mid-to-late 1970s are composed of vibrant parallel bands of colour, such as AC-78-20, lot 11 in the live auction. The effect of the flat plains and open skies that are so dramatically present throughout Saskatchewan is often detectable in Perehudoff’s work – AC-78-20 may be evocative of a prairie sunset.

Jack Shadbolt, Sea Edge 5

Jack Shadbolt was an innovative and dominant figure in the Vancouver art scene beginning in the 1940s. Shadbolt drew from many sources of inspiration, including Cubism, Surrealism, American Regionalism and Northwest Coast art. The artist met Emily Carr in 1930 while attending Victoria College. Carr left a strong impression on Shadbolt’s life and work; they were both inspired by the spiritual unity with nature that is apparent in Northwest Coast art. Sea Edge 5 (1978), lot 9, is exemplary of Jack Shadbolt’s bold and colourful work of the late seventies. Sea Edge 5 serves as part of a series on the theme of abstracted seascapes, and Contexts: Variations on Primavera Theme, lot 10, is one of 15 hand-painted posters of the ‘primavera’ theme, which together form a mosaic-like mural.

Leon Bellefleur, RituelAbstract painting in Canada has continued to evolve through a multitude of approaches in the 1970s, 80s and through to today. Lot 8, Rituel, by Léon Bellefleur, Lot 31, Spring Yellows – B by Gershon Iskowitz, and Lot 103, Les feuilles d’un astre by Jean-Paul Jérôme, among many other non-figurative artworks in Consignor’s Fall Live Auction, demonstrate the enduring development of unique abstract styles throughout the country, from the ‘gestural’ to the ‘hard-edge’. Visit our gallery and view the full catalogue on the Consignor website for more artworks and details regarding the Fall Live Auction of Important Canadian Art on November 23rd at the Gardiner Museum.

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William Perehudoff, AC-78-20

William Perehudoff, AC-78-20

Chefs-d’œuvre d’art non-figuratifs au cœur de la vente en salle

La vente automnale d’art canadien de Consignor présente une sélection impressionnante d’oeuvres abstraites d’artistes à travers le pays et à travers les époques. Les premières incursions dans l’abstraction au Canada ont eu lieu durant les années 1920 et 1930, bien qu’elles aient été sporadiques et incohérentes. Ces artistes, notamment Kathleen Munn, Bertram Brooker, Lawren Harris et Jock MacDonald, ont été fortement influencés par les mouvements artistiques européens, à savoir le cubisme, le surréalisme et le symbolisme. Un examen des œuvres abstraites qui feront partie de la vente de novembre de Consignor peut servir comme illustration historique de la façon dont l’abstraction est apparue et s’est développée à travers le Canada au cours des décennies qui ont suivi.

Jean Paul Riopelle, Sans Titre (1946)Durant les années 1940, Montréal a donné naissance aux Automatistes, le premier mouvement artistique « avant-garde » au Canada. Sous la direction de Paul-Émile Borduas, un groupe de jeunes artistes s’est rebellé contre leur province artistiquement conservatrice, ainsi que politiquement et religieusement répressive. Après la lecture de « Le Surréalisme et la peinture » d’André Breton en 1945, Jean-Paul Riopelle a décidé de rompre avec la tradition afin de poursuivre la peinture non-figurative. Au cours des deux prochaines années, le jeune artiste crée plusieurs aquarelles de petite taille et composées de lignes entrelacées, tel que Sans titre (1946), lot 6 dans la vente de novembre de Consignor. Ces oeuvres ont étées inspirées du surréalisme et des techniques d’écriture automatique de Breton.

Un autre membre des Automatistes, Marcelle Ferron a également été encouragée par Borduas Marcelle Ferron, Sans Titre (1949)à abandonner la peinture de paysage en faveur d’une abstraction plus radicale. De 1946 à 1953, Ferron préfère une technique de « sgraffito » : elle a appliqué plusieurs couches de pigments et gratté la surface avec un couteau à palette entre chaque application. Ce style personnel de Ferron est apparent dans les couches de peinture colorées de Sans titre (1949), lot 101 dans la vente aux enchères.

Harold Town, Clandeboy RepriseAu cours de la décennie suivante, l’abstraction s’est répandue à travers le Canada. Toronto a explosé en tant que centre d’art dans les années 1950, largement influencée par les expressionnistes abstraits de New York. Harold Town était membre fondateur du « Painters Eleven », un groupe d’artistes abstraits de Toronto qui ont exposé ensemble durant les années 1950. Les couleurs vivantes et les coups de pinceaux épais, comme illustrés dans Clandeboy Reprise (1959), lot 71, sont caractéristiques du style de Town, inspiré par le « New York School ».

Michael Snow, Off Minor (1958)L’artiste contemporain Michael Snow exposait du milieu à la fin des années 1950 au Greenwich Gallery à Toronto. Bien qu’aujourd’hui il est reconnu mondialement comme un pionnier de l’art conceptualiste et multimédia, le travail de Snow de ces années a également été fortement influencé par les artistes abstraits américains tels que De Kooning, Kline et Rothko. Off Minor (1958), le lot 25 dans la vente aux enchères de Consignor en novembre, démontre l’affiliation de Snow avec les mouvements abstraits d’avant-garde de l’époque, peu avant la création de ses célèbres « Walking Woman Works ».

Un groupe notable d’artistes abstraits canadiens s’est formé à Regina dans les années 1960, connu sous le nom de Regina Five. Ron Bloore, membre fondateur, a joué un rôle déterminant dans le lancement de l’École des beaux-arts d’Emma Lake afin de permettre aux artistes de rompre avec l’isolement qu’ils ressentaient dans les Prairies. En tant que professeur d’histoire de l’art et d’archéologie, l’influence des fouilles archéologiques et des civilisations anciennes a fait son chemin dans la peinture de Bloore. La palette monochrome de Untitled, lot 86, fait référence aux bâtiments et sculptures en marbre blanc de la Grèce antique et de la période classique.

Ron Bloore, UntitledDurant les sessions à Emma Lake tenus en 1962-1963, l’artiste de la Saskatchewan William Perehudoff a été présenté à « Post-Painterly Abstraction » par le critique d’art Clement Greenberg et l’artiste américain Kenneth Noland. Plusieures des grandes toiles horizontales de Perehudoff du milieu à la fin des années 1970 sont composées de bandes de couleurs vibrantes et parallèles, tel que AC-78-20, lot 11 dans la vente aux enchères. Dans les travaux de Perehudoff, la référence aux plaines et aux ciels ouverts de la Saskatchewan est souvent détectable – AC-78-20 peut évoquer un coucher de soleil dans les prairies.

Jack Shadbolt, Sea Edge 5Jack Shadbolt était une figure novatrice et dominante de la scène artistique de Vancouver à partir des années 1940. Shadbolt a tiré de nombreuses sources d’inspiration, y compris le cubisme, le surréalisme, le régionalisme américain et l’art de la côte du Nord-Ouest. L’artiste a rencontré Emily Carr en 1930 alors qu’il fréquentait Victoria College. Cette dernière a laissé une forte impression sur la vie et le travail de Shadbolt; ils ont tous deux été inspirés par l’unité spirituelle avec la nature qui se manifeste dans l’art de la côte du Nord-Ouest. Sea Edge 5 (1978), lot 9, sert comme exemple du travail audacieux et coloré de Jack Shadbolt de la fin des années 1970, et Contexts: Variations on Primavera Theme, lot 10, est l’une des quinze affiches peintes à la main avec le thème « primavera ». Ensemble, ces quinze affiches forment une murale.

Leon Bellefleur, RituelLa peinture abstraite au Canada a continué d’évoluer à travers une multitude d’approches dans les années 1970, 1980 et aujourd’hui. Lot 8, Rituel, de Léon Bellefleur, Lot 31, Spring Yellows – B de Gershon Iskowitz, et Lot 103, Les feuilles d’un astre de Jean-Paul Jérôme, parmi beaucoup d’autres œuvres d’art non-figuratives dans la vente automnale de Consignor, démontrent le développement de styles abstraits uniques dans l’ensemble du pays, du style « gestural » au « hard-edge ». Visitez notre galerie et consultez le catalogue complet sur le site internet de Consignor pour plus d’œuvres d’art et de détails concernant la vente automnale d’art canadien, laquelle se tiendra le 23 novembre au musée Gardiner.

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(L to R) Lawren Harris, Lake Superior; Emily Carr, European Street Scene; Mary Pratt, Baking Bread; Michael Snow, Off Minor

(L to R) Lawren Harris, Lake Superior; Emily Carr, European Scene; Mary Pratt, Baking Bread; Michael Snow, Off Minor

From Charlottetown to Vancouver, Consignor’s National Travels Yield Notable Works by Emily Carr, Mary Pratt & Alex Colville to be offered on November 23rd

(Toronto – November 1, 2017) – Behind many masterpieces, there is a sketch that formulates the artist’s ideas and vision. Consignor Canadian Fine Art announces its fall semi-annual auction highlights that will include a rare pencil sketch by Lawren Harris, the preparatory work for of one of his most renowned canvases, Lake Superior, which currently hangs in the Thomson collection in the Art Gallery of Ontario. The sketch, once owned by his wife Bess Harris, carries an auction estimate valued at $20,000 – $30,000; however, its rarity and significance as the precursor to a major canvas could challenge the record for a pencil sketch by the Group of Seven artist. It debuts on the auction block at Consignor’s live auction event taking place Thursday, November 23, 2017at the Gardiner Museum in Toronto.

“The significance of pencil sketching to Lawren Harris is well known,” says Rob Cowley, President of Consignor. “His pad of paper and pencil were just as important as the oils and brushes he carried on sketching trips. We’re thrilled to have acquired this important piece of narrative in Harris’s creative process, particularly a sketch that is connected to one of his most renowned works. It is a stunning work and we expect lively bidding when it reaches the block on the 23rd.”

Fellow artist and close friend of Harris, Yvonne McKague Housser quoted the below about the artist’s process in graphite:  “His drawings are a key which open the door to what he was thinking and painting… The drawings were important as an introduction, to clarify his mind before he started a painting.”

This past summer, Consignor set out on a 10-city Art Roadshow travelling from the Maritimes to Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary, Winnipeg, Regina and Vancouver, inviting the public to consult with their specialists regarding works of art for valuation. It was during the tour that Consignor discovered some of its most unique offerings and exceptional works including the Lake Superior sketch. Other highlights from the tour, which will be offered at Consignor’s Fall Auction of Important Canadian Art include:

Featured on the cover of the Consignor fall auction catalogue is a 1958 canvas by Michael Snow titled Off Minor, being offered for the first time at auction with an estimated value of $40,000 – $60,000. The abstract painting, which measures 60” X 36”, was privately owned by Joseph Gladstone, the brother of Toronto artist Gerald Gladstone, and has not been seen at auction until now.

Live previews are ongoing at the Consignor Canadian Fine Art Gallery located at 326 Dundas Street W. and viewable at Consignor’s Fall Live Auction of Important Canadian Art event will take place on Thursday, November 23, 7:00pm at the Gardiner Museum located at 111 Queen’s Park, Toronto, ON.

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(Left to Right) Lawren Harris, Lake Superior (I.D. 463); Emily Carr, European Street Scene; Mary Pratt, Baking Bread; Michael Snow, Off Minor (1958)

De gauche à droite: Harris, Lake Superior; Carr, European Scene; Pratt, Baking Bread; Snow, Off Minor

Les œuvres d’Emily Carr, Mary Pratt et Alex Colville seront présentées aux enchères le 23 novembre

(Toronto – le 1er novembre, 2017) Consignor Canadian Fine Art annonce sa vente aux enchères semestrielle qui inclura un rare dessin au crayon de Lawren Harris, un travail préparatoire d’une de ses toiles les plus renommées, « Lake Superior », qui est présentement affichée dans la collection Thomson au Musée des beaux-arts de l’Ontario. Le dessin, qui appartenait autrefois à son épouse Bess Harris, sera offert aux enchères avec une estimation de 20 000 $ – 30 000 $. Cependant, sa rareté et son importance en tant que précurseur d’une toile majeure pourraient remettre en question le prix record pour un dessin d’un membre du Groupe des Sept. L’œuvre sera offerte à la vente en salle, laquelle aura lieu au musée Gardiner le jeudi 23 novembre.

« L’importance du dessin au crayon pour Lawren Harris est bien connue » dit Rob Cowley, Président de Consignor. « Il considérait son carnet de croquis et ses crayons tout aussi importants que les huiles et les pinceaux qu’il portait avec lui lors de ses excursions de peinture en plein air. Nous sommes ravis d’avoir acquis cette esquisse importante qui est liée à l’une des œuvres les plus célèbres de Harris. C’est une superbe œuvre d’art et nous prévoyons de fortes enchères la soirée du 23 ».

Yvonne McKague Housser, amie et collègue artiste de Harris, a décrit sa technique en graphite:  « Ses dessins sont une clé qui ouvre la porte à ce qu’il pensait et peignait…Les dessins étaient importants à titre introductif, afin de clarifier son esprit avant de commencer une toile ».

L’été dernier, Consignor s’est lancé dans une tournée d’évaluation, voyageant des Maritimes à Montréal, Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary, Winnipeg, Regina et Vancouver. Les spécialistes ont invité les membres du public à amener leurs œuvres d’art à des fins d’évaluation. C’est au cours de cette tournée que Consignor a découvert certaines des œuvres les plus exceptionnelles dans le cadre de la vente de novembre, y compris le dessin du lac Supérieur.

Points saillants de la vente en salle automnale 2017 de Consignor:

Emily Carr, European Street Scene, une aquarelle peinte en 1911 lors de sa formation artistique en France (estimation 150 000 $ – 175 000 $), découverte à Calgary, Alberta

A.J. Casson, Bridge Over Humber River, une des premières œuvres de Casson créée en plein air (estimation 20 000 $  – 30 000 $), découverte en Colombie-Britannique

Mary Pratt, Baking Bread, peintre célèbre des Maritimes (30 000 $ – 40 000 $); et Alex Colville, Recording Line Zero, Near Nijmegen, une aquarelle de la période de guerre (estimation 30 000 $ – 40 000 $), les deux œuvres ont tous deux étées découvertes à Saint John, Nouveau-Brunswick

En vedette sur la page couverture du catalogue de la vente de Consignor est une toile d’huile de Michael Snow de 1958, intitulée « Off Minor ». La grande toile abstraite appartenait auparavant à Joseph Gladstone, le frère de l’artiste torontois Gerald Gladstone; elle est présentée pour la première fois aux enchères avec une valeur estimée de 40 000 $ – 60 000 $.
Les œuvres d’art sont présentement exposées à la galerie Consignor Canadian Fine Art, au 326, rue Dundas Ouest. Pour de plus amples renseignements sur l’exposition et la vente en salle, ainsi que pour accéder au catalogue en ligne, veuillez consulter le site internet La vente se tiendra le jeudi 23 novembre, au musée Gardiner (111, Queen’s Park, Toronto).

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Within the broad practice of printmaking are several distinct techniques, many of which are included in the Consignor September Auction.

Consignor’s current Online Auction of Canadian and International art, consisting of 239 lots, offers a vast range of artwork for sale in various media – oil paintings, photography, sculpture and prints.

Collecting prints is an excellent way to start or build a comprehensive art collection, as well as a way to familiarize oneself with styles and artists at a more accessible price point than other mediums.

Rita Letendre, SharasMany artists of the Post-War period embraced printmaking, creating images of their modern compositions in multiple copies. Leader of the abstract colourist movement, Rita Letendre produced many silkscreen prints, such as Sharas, lot 56. Also known as serigraphy or screen printing, the silkscreen process consists of a stencilled image placed in a frame, which has a layer of mesh stretched across it, forming a ‘screen’. Ink is then pushed through the stencil onto a sheet of paper. Dating to 1973, Letendre’s Sharas serves as a prime example of her signature style of hard-edge abstraction.

Jean Paul Riopelle, Les Oies IILithography has also been a popular printmaking method among 20th century Canadian artists. Jean Paul Riopelle frequently worked in this medium, creating abstract and quasi-abstract images such as Les Oies II, lot 58 in the September auction. In this process the artist draws an image onto stone with a grease-based medium, then applies ink to the stone, which adheres only to the image. The stone is then run through a press onto a sheet of paper. The online auction features two lots of rare black and white lithographs by Henri Masson of Quebec village scenes. These charming prints, lots 91 and 92, are examples of the artist’s very limited body of work in printmaking.

Ed Bartram, CycleA very old form of printmaking that is still used today is etching. Using a needle, the artist scratches a composition onto a metal plate covered with wax. The plate is then submerged in acid, which eats into the metal exposed by the scratched lines. Etching has often been used to achieve very delicate black and white images, such as lot 155 by Caroline Armington, a pair of etchings depicting two of Paris’ famous bridges. A more contemporary rendering of the etching technique is lot 54, Cycle by contemporary Canadian artist Ed Bartram.

Harold Town, UntitledPurchasing prints at auction are also an excellent and accessible way to collect the work Canada’s most renowned artists. Lots 64, 81 and 90 by William Kurelek, Harold Town and Ted Harrison respectively, provide the opportunity to own a composition in these painters’ distinct styles, as their prints are more readily-available and affordable when compared to original works.

Consignor’s September Auction of Canadian and International art includes many excellent examples of traditional printmaking methods used by Canadian artists. Buying prints at auction is also a fantastic platform for the emerging collector. Visit our website and view our full online catalogue for more details on the available works and upcoming sales.

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Records Broken & New Traditions Established for Consignor This Season

Old Orchard, a major 1940 painting by Franklin Carmichael was sold for $475,000 during the spring auction season, the highest price paid for the painter’s work in eight years and one of the highest values ever achieved for the painter’s work by an auction firm.  The price was just one of the many highlights encountered by Consignor Canadian Fine Art this spring.

The Spring Live Auction of Important Canadian Art, held May 25th, was an evening of new traditions and continued success for Consignor, the auction establishing strong prices for historical, post-war and contemporary works of quality and rarity.  The auction was held for the first time at Toronto’s Gardiner Museum, the downtown venue filled to capacity with an electric environment of excitement palpable from the drop of the hammer on the first lot sold.  The classy and cozy setting was instantly popular with clients, paddles comfortably waving in the air throughout the night.

Excited bidding participation came through not only in the room, but through spirited telephone and absentee bidding, pushing choice artworks well beyond expectation.  Drawing strong reaction from the room was the sale of Three Black Cats, the small oil painting by Nova Scotia folk artist Maud Lewis fetching a record $36,800 (prices posted include applicable Buyer’s Premium), almost double the previous auction record and five times the presale estimate.  Appreciation for Atlantic Canadian artists continued with David Blackwood’s Fire Down on the Labrador selling for $48,300, doubling its estimate and marking the second highest price ever achieved for the iconic imagery created by the Newfoundlander printmaker.

Artwork by Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven continued to excited collectors during the spring season, with notable results including: Tom Thomson’s Fallen Timber (Algonquin) selling for $125,000; Edwin Holgate’s Autumn Leaves selling for $75,000; Madawaska, a 20 x 26 inch canvas by A.Y. Jackson fetching $69,000; A.J. Casson’s captivating Old Hotel, Elora selling for $36,800 while Casson’s Byng Inlet fetched $29,900.  Works on paper by the Group saw record prices set with Lawren Harris’ Snow-Covered Trees more than doubling its estimate to reach $50,600 and A.Y. Jackson’s Gulf of St. Lawrence selling for $14,950, both auction records for works on paper by the artists.

Further historical highlights displayed a love for portraiture from collectors this season with an enchanting Jean Paul Lemieux portrait fetching $48,300; Randolph Hewton’s Portrait of Thomas Archer Esq. selling for $14,950; and Hal Ross Perrigard’s Vere reaching $10,925, each exceeding their pre-sale estimate.

Post-War and Contemporary Canadian works performed notably during the May 25th live auction with: Ted Harrison’s The Grecian House (Dawson City) selling for $34,500, Sorel Etrog’s “Ferrari red” Sadko fetching $27,600, Paul-Émile Borduas’ Abstract Composition watercolour reaching $21,850 and Rita Letendre’s L’Enchenteur selling for $17,250.

The May live auction was surrounded by Consignor’s March and June Online Auctions, sales which are carefully catered not only to established collectors looking to supplement their existing collections but also to new collectors who continue to hunt for gems to create an assemblage.  Feverish online bidding led to collectors across Canada and beyond being awarded notable works of art by A.J. Casson, J.W. Beatty, Manly MacDonald, H.S. PalmerAlan Collier, Yvonne McKague HousserGoodridge RobertsJack Bush, Alex ColvilleNorval MorrisseauDavid Urban, Angela Leach, and Kim Dorland, among many others.

We extend our thanks to the consignors, buyers, bidders and clients who helped to ensure another season of success for Consignor Canadian Fine Art.  Preparation has already begun for our fall sales, including the Live Auction of Important Canadian Art (to be held on November 23rd at the Gardiner Museum).  We are currently accepting consignments for the upcoming sales and our team would be delighted to meet with you in our downtown Toronto gallery or during our national travels this summer.  The summer months feature a selling exhibition in the gallery and online, allowing clients the opportunity to consider a variety of work by Canadian artists, available for immediate sale (full listing available here).