Posted by & filed under Cowley Abbott Updates, How to, Sale Updates.

Starting an Art Collection & Why You Should Look to Auctions

Lot 14: Peter Deutsch, High Fidelity
vinyl copolymer on canvas
estimate $1,000-2,000

Collecting art can be fulfilling and add personality to your home. As a thirty-something-year-old art specialist, I have quite a few friends and family members buying their first homes and asking me where they can buy art to put on their walls. For many reasons (admittedly including the fact that I work at an auction house), I recommend online auctions as a way to start and build an art collection. Cowley Abbott’s January online auctions offer great examples of accessible art in a range of styles, subjects, and media. I am happy to share some general art collecting advice and my affordable art picks from the current sale.

Lot 39: Robert Montgomery
The People you Meet Become Ghosts Inside of You and Like This You Keep Them Alive

colour photograph
estimate $1,200-1,500

Browse Indefinitely

It is important to spend time surrounded by art in order to create a context for yourself. Find ways to look at art on a regular basis, through museum and gallery visits, Instagram accounts, the Google Arts & Culture app, and scrolling through online auction listings. Every time you see a work of art, let yourself react to it. Ask, “do I like this? Why or why not?” These experiences will help you develop your personal taste.

Lot 73: Rita Letendre, Northern Legend
serigraph
estimate $300-500

Learn (some of) the Lingo

Art comes in many forms and materials, and it is worth learning their differences, for the purposes of both aesthetics and value. The general categories include painting, drawing, prints (of which there are many types – etchings, silkscreens, lithographs, etc), photography, sculpture and mixed media. An oil painting is a one-of-a-kind work of art, but also more expensive due to its rarity. Prints, which are duplicate images from a limited edition, are often more readily available and affordable than original paintings. For example, lot 73 is Northern Legend, a 1967 print by Rita Letendre. The estimate is $300-500, far below the typical prices in the tens of thousands for her oil paintings.

Lot 110: Ted Harrison, Ice Moon, Hockey Game
two serigraphs
estimate $600-800

Be Patient and Enjoy the Journey

Please take your time in this process. When someone asks me for advice on how to find a work of art for their home, I often have to tell them that they should not expect to find something in a day or even a week. Don’t just buy something quickly to fill a blank wall. That being said, if a particular work really grabs you for whatever reason, then go for it! It is better to buy something you love even if you have no idea where it will find a place in your home. Art collecting is a lifelong journey that is never complete – it is always evolving and it reflects how your personality and tastes have changed. Looking at every piece in your collection is like an old journal or photo album–every piece you collect along the way will remind you of a particular moment in your life.

Lot 111: Raphael Montpetit, Dégel
oil on board
estimate $500-700

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Comment commencer une collection d’art & pourquoi vous devriez vous tourner vers les enchères

Lot 14: Peter Deutsch, High Fidelity
copolymère de vinyl sur toile
estimation  1 000 – 2 000 $

La collection d’œuvres d’art peut être épanouissante et ajouter de la personnalité à votre maison. En tant que spécialiste de l’art dans la trentaine, j’ai pas mal d’amis et de membres de ma famille qui achètent leur première maison et me demandent où ils peuvent acheter de l’art pour mettre sur leurs murs. Pour de nombreuses raisons (y compris le fait que je travaille dans une maison de vente aux enchères), je recommande les ventes aux enchères en ligne comme moyen de démarrer et de constituer une collection d’art. Les ventes en ligne de Cowley Abbott de janvier offrent d’excellents exemples d’art accessible dans une gamme de styles, de sujets et de médias. Je suis heureuse de partager quelques conseils généraux sur la collection d’art ainsi que mes choix d’art abordables de la présente vente.

Lot 39: Robert Montgomery,
The People you Meet Become Ghosts Inside of You and Like This You Keep Them Alive
photographie en couleurs
estimation 1 200 – 1 500 $

Parcourez indéfiniment

Il est important de passer du temps entouré d’art afin de se créer un contexte.Trouvez des façons de voir de l’art régulièrement, par le biais de visites de musées et de galeries, de comptes Instagram, de l’application Google Arts & Culture et en parcourant les listes d’enchères en ligne. ​​À chaque fois que vous voyez une œuvre d’art, laissez-vous réagir. Demandez, “est-ce que j’aime ça? Pourquoi ou pourquoi pas?” Ces expériences vous aideront à développer votre goût personnel.
Lot 73: Rita Letendre, Northern Legend
sérigraphie
estimation 300 – 500 $

Apprenez le jargon

L’art se présente sous de nombreuses formes et matériaux, et il vaut la peine d’apprendre leurs différences, à des fins esthétiques et de valeur. Les catégories générales comprennent la peinture, le dessin, les gravures (dont il existe de nombreux types – eaux-fortes, sérigraphies, lithographies, etc.), la photographie, la sculpture et les techniques mixtes. Une peinture à l’huile est une œuvre d’art unique, mais elle est aussi plus chère en raison de sa rareté. Les tirages, qui sont des images en double d’une édition limitée, sont souvent plus facilement disponibles et abordables que les peintures originales. Par exemple, le lot 73 est Northern Legend, une sérigraphie de 1967 de Rita Letendre. L’estimation est de 300 à 500 $, bien inférieure aux prix typiques de plusieurs dizaines de milliers de ses peintures à l’huile.
Lot 110: Ted Harrison, Ice Moon, Hockey Game
lot de deux sérigraphies
estimation 600 – 800 $

Soyez patient et profitez du voyage

Veuillez prendre votre temps dans ce processus. Quand quelqu’un me demande des conseils pour trouver une œuvre d’art pour sa maison, je dois souvent lui dire qu’il ne faut pas s’attendre à trouver quelque chose en un jour ou même une semaine. Ne vous contentez pas d’acheter quelque chose rapidement pour remplir un mur vide. Cela étant dit, si un article en particulier vous attrape vraiment pour une raison quelconque, alors allez-y ! Il est préférable d’acheter quelque chose que vous aimez même si vous ne savez pas où il trouvera sa place dans votre maison. Collectionner des œuvres d’art est un processus qui dure toute la vie et qui n’est jamais complet – il évolue constamment et reflète l’évolution de votre personnalité et vos goûts. Regarder chaque pièce de votre collection est comme un vieux journal ou un album photo – chaque article que vous collectionnez en cours de route vous rappellera un moment particulier de votre vie.

Lot 111: Raphael Montpetit, Dégel
huile sur bois
estimation 500 – 700 $

Posted by & filed under Cowley Abbott Updates.

Cowley Abbott bridges the gap between traditional art auction services and the online fine art marketplace. Our experienced specialists strive to form relationships with clients built on professionalism, transparency and trust. We believe that art collecting should be approachable, educational and rewarding for both new and seasoned collectors. We invite you to become acquainted with our specialists in our new blog series and learn more about Cowley Abbott’s prominent place in the Canadian art industry.

Katlin Rogers, Canadian Art Specialist

Did you know Canadian Art Specialist, Katlin Rogers is also a qualified personal property appraiser? Specializing in Historical and Post War Canadian Art, Katlin has been a Member of the International Society of Appraisers since 2018. Receiving Chapter Impact Awards from the Canadian Chapter of ISA and practicing hundreds of hours of appraisal work, Katlin can assist you with your formal appraisal needs! 

As a member of the International Society of Appraisers, Katlin, you are part of a leading professional personal property appraisal association, which allows you to perform a myriad of fine art appraisals as a specialist at Cowley Abbott. Can you tell us more about the appraisal services offered at the firm and your role as an ISA qualified appraiser? 

Many of our clients have practical issues of insurance and estate concerns when it comes to their art collection. Receiving top training with the International Society of Appraisers sharpened my skill set to provide our clients with bespoke appraisal services. I have been fortunate to be able to work with clients who have built exceptional collections of blue chip Canadian art, including works by Jack Bush, Jean McEwen, Jean Paul Riopelle, David Milne, A.Y. Jackson, Maud Lewis and William Kurelek, among many others. Many of these artworks have not been traded on the open market and it is a pleasure to be able to handle these collections, connect with clients and discuss current market conditions. 

The Sotheby’s Institute of Art London in the United Kingdom is where you received your Master’s in Art Business. Can you tell us about what your studies were focused on and how that experience informed your decision to work in the auction industry?

Studying in a global art center was certainly an important experience. The Sotheby’s program in London was open to a global view, however, I tailored my studies towards the Canadian marketplace, taking a deep dive into the public and private sectors of our regional art market. For my Master’s Thesis, I took a very focused look on how the world perceives regional markets and examined the Canadian art market from qualitative and quantitative perspectives. Researching the auction market between 1967- 2015 provided invaluable insight into previous and current trends in the market and auction business strategies. This research allowed me to hit the ground running when I returned to Canada and began working in the auction industry. Ever since it has been a pleasure linking undergraduate art history and theory studies, and post-grad art business studies, with real world experience handling incredible artworks.

Katlin Rogers can be reached directly by e-mail at [email protected]. Stay tuned for the next installment of “Introducing the Cowley Abbott Team” in a week!

Posted by & filed under Cowley Abbott News & Press, Cowley Abbott Updates.

Peter Ohler

Cowley Abbott is pleased to welcome Peter Ohler to the firm. Peter acts as Cowley Abbott’s Western Canada Representative, pursuing artwork for inclusion in the company’s live and online auctions while also providing superior service to collectors related to private sales.

The Cowley Abbott team is excited to work with Peter, who has forty years of experience in the Canadian art industry. Peter’s career as an art dealer began in 1980 at Masters Gallery in Calgary. Founded in 1976 by Peter’s father, he later became a partner in the gallery in 1995, and established Masters Gallery Vancouver, which he ran from 2011-2017. In 2018, Peter established Ohler’s Fine Art, further establishing his reputation for adhering to the highest ethical standards within the Canadian art community.

Peter is recognized for his expertise in dealing with high-value artwork of historical significance and will continue to advise clients who wish to buy or sell art, providing expert evaluation and advisory services through this new venture with Cowley Abbott. We asked Peter a few questions about his vast experience and had the opportunity to learn a bit more about his experience in the Canadian art world.

We are so pleased to welcome you to Cowley Abbott, Peter. What are you most looking forward to about your new role?

Meeting new clients and collectors. In my experience the auction buyer and seller aren’t necessarily the same person who deals with a retail gallery or private dealer. Of course there is some crossover but I think I will get to know a great group of new people now that I am with CA. Of course, I am also looking forward to working with the Cowley Abbott team. They have a great reputation, so I’ll have to be on my best behavior to fit in.

Drawing upon your vast experience in the Canadian art market, what would you say has drawn you towards the auction industry and is there a facet of the auction house world that you are eager to learn more about?

Cowley Abbott deals with such a wide variety of art. It will be interesting to have hands-on experience with so many different things that I wouldn’t typically deal with. 

Have you noticed any fundamental or striking changes in the Canadian art industry and the art collecting practices of collectors since you became an art dealer in 1980?

1980? That’s a long time ago. I started in the business when I was 5 so I’m really not that old. In “the old days” it was mostly the dealers who bought at auction and took things back to their galleries to resell to their clientele. The dealers were tastemakers and educators. Identifying, for their clients, what they should consider and collect. Over time buyers began acting on their own behalf and buying directly from the auctions. So much more information is available now to buyers it seems that collectors feel confident in making their own decisions regarding the art they buy without the input of the dealer.

Throughout your career in the art world, what have been some memorable or “standout” artworks that you have handled?

I’m probably supposed to talk about an expensive Emily Carr or Riopelle, there have been a lot of those. Honestly though I spent many years dealing with contemporary art and artists in the retail world before becoming a private dealer. It was very rewarding working with the living artists and helping them gain the exposure and notoriety they deserved.

The thrill of the hunt must be a phrase you have thought of often throughout your career of discovering gems for collectors to consider acquiring. Were you always interested in seeking out rare artworks of quality and discovering the stories behind them? Was there a particular artwork with an interesting provenance or historic story that you can share?

My Dad and I used to walk a golf course in Calgary that was near his house. We would go in the early evening on a Sunday after the course was closed to look for lost golf balls. Walking through the long grass and the woods around the course you would step on them as you walked along. It was always a small thrill to pick one up and see what you had found. Finding great historical art is like looking for golf balls. It happens if you know where to look but the conversations, shared experiences and relationships you build with clients along the way is what really makes it meaningful. In my experience it is the clients that are the gems.

Lastly, what drew you to the art industry initially? What are your earliest memories of the art world?

Nepotism. Masters Gallery was my dad’s shop and he let me work there while I was in highschool. Pete Sr. never liked seeing me sitting around so I always tried to look busy so he wouldn’t find some terrible job for me to do like cleaning the baseboards.

Peter is located in Calgary and is looking forward to connecting further with collectors, art lovers and the Canadian art community. Peter Ohler can be reached directly at 587-317-6564 or by e-mail at [email protected].

Posted by & filed under Cowley Abbott News & Press, Cowley Abbott Updates.

Peter Ohler will act as the firm’s Western Canada Representative, providing expert evaluation and advisory services for auction and private sale purposes.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Toronto, ON (January 10, 2022) Cowley Abbott is proud to announce that Peter Ohler has joined the firm. Peter will act as Cowley Abbott’s Western Canada Representative, pursuing artwork for inclusion in the company’s live and online auctions while also providing superior service to collectors related to private sales.

Ohler’s Fine Art has been acquired by Cowley Abbott and this new collaboration continues the firm’s growth, furthering our expertise and industry-leading service to collectors across Canada and internationally.

Peter’s career as an art dealer began in 1980 at Masters Gallery in Calgary. Founded in 1976 by Peter’s father, he later became a partner in the gallery in 1995, and established Masters Gallery Vancouver, which he ran from 2011-2017. In 2018, Peter established Ohler’s Fine Art, cementing his 40 years of experience in the Canadian historical art market to provide top-level service to clients across Canada. Peter has a reputation within the dealer and collector community for adhering to the highest ethical standards and his expertise in dealing with high-value artwork of historical significance has established him as a nationally recognized dealer. Peter will continue to advise clients who wish to buy or sell art, providing expert evaluation and advisory services through this new venture with Cowley Abbott.

Regarding his new role, Peter Ohler remarked, “Combining my experience and knowledge gained in the retail and private art dealing business with the highly successful team at Cowley Abbott will allow us to offer the widest range of services available in Canada. I am thrilled to begin this exciting new chapter with the team.”

“Having had the pleasure to work with Peter over many years in the Canadian art industry, our collaborations have always been professional, constructive and enjoyable, with a shared focus to best serve our clients”, said Rob Cowley, with Lydia Abbott adding, “We could not be more excited and privileged to have Peter join Cowley Abbott; his experience, knowledge and ethical business acumen is a perfect fit for our firm, which only add value to our growing company.”

Established in 2013, Cowley Abbott (originally Consignor Canadian Fine Art) was formed in response to the changing Canadian art market and art collecting practices of clients. The company has rapidly grown to become a leader in the sale of fine Canadian & international art, providing a wealth of services for today’s collector. 

Peter Ohler can be reached directly at 587-317-6564 or by e-mail at [email protected].

Posted by & filed under Cowley Abbott News & Press, Cowley Abbott Updates, Sale Updates.

The final auctions of 2021 have come to a close. Cowley Abbott rounded out a successful year with three concurrent Online Auctions: Coast to Coast, Holiday Charm and Works on Paper, Books & Tapestries. Each of these auctions featured an impressive array of genres, styles and mediums of artwork, from across Canada and beyond. 

Celebrated Canadian artists Doris McCarthy, Alan Collier, John Little, Maud Lewis and many, many more were included in our most recent Online Auctions. Works of art ranging from historical to modern to contemporary were presented for discerning collectors and spontaneous buyers alike.

Shuvinai Ashoona, Walrus
Price Realized: $5,040.00

Among the notable works on paper were a set of lithographs by contemporary Inuk artist Shuvinai Ashoona. Teeming with colour, detail and imaginative forms, the dazzling lithographs sold above their estimate for $5,040.

Kim Dorland, Camp
Price Realized: $26,400.00

Camp, a 2006 canvas by Kim Dorland also generated excitement among visitors. Rendered in fluorescent paints, a tent glows dramatically in the dark night. The detritus of wild times is strewn about in the foreground. Both quiet and exuberant, the distinctive painting sold well over the estimate for $26,400.

Frederick Loveroff, Evening, Algonquin
Price Realized: $38,520.00

One of the stand-out results of the December auctions was Evening, Algonquin by Frederick Nicholas Loveroff. Reminiscent of the Algonquin Park sketches of the iconic Tom Thomson, the small oil sketch captures a dramatic sunset with confident brushwork and glowing colours. The appealing landscape caught the eye of a number of collectors and bids poured in for the painting. Evening, Algonquin soared to a price realized of $38,520.

Maud Lewis, Covered Bridge in Winter
Price Realized: $43,200.00

Covered Bridge in Winter by beloved Canadian artist Maud Lewis was a wonderfully apt addition to Cowley Abbott’s “Holiday Charm” auction. Featuring snowy pines, horse-drawn sleighs and colourful east coast buildings, the painting exudes heart-warming appeal. The wintry scene demonstrated Maud Lewis’ enduring popularity with a strong result of $43,200. 

The team at Cowley Abbott extend our gratitude to all the collectors, bidders and buyers who ensured 2021 was a year of growth and success. We very much look forward to the many new opportunities and experiences to come in the year ahead. 

Posted by & filed under Cowley Abbott News & Press, Cowley Abbott Updates, Sale Updates.

Cowley Abbott continues to smash auction records and draw competition for rare and exceptional artwork.

The Fall Live Auction of Important Canadian Art on November 22nd was a spirited evening which experienced overwhelming interest, as lively bidding was invited from collectors in-person and remotely via absentee, telephone and online participation. Providing the greatest variety of convenient options for clients this season, the sale attracted robust competition from bidders across Canada and outside of our borders. The success of the auction is solidified by a healthy 87% sell-through rate, with 55% of lots sold exceeding the high-end of the pre-sale expectation (more than 90% of the artworks sold either within or surpassed the estimate).

Cowley Abbott phone bidders were kept busy during the Fall Live Auction!

The Cowley Abbott team connected collectors with excellent artworks representing the country from coast to coast. Superior artworks by Canadian historical, post-war and contemporary artists attained overall success, as multiple records were set during the auction, including new artist records for Molly Lamb Bobak, Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun, Wyatt Eaton and J.W. Beatty. Cowley Abbott was pleased to host a live auction with an in-person audience, allowing for both excitement and momentum to be created by the auctioneer, Rob Cowley.

Jean Paul Riopelle, Sans titre (circa 1959)
Price Realized $504,000.00

Drawing ample pre-sale attention was Sans titre by Jean Paul Riopelle, a 1959 masterwork by the celebrated artist that graced the catalogue cover. Painted while the artist lived abroad, this oil on canvas has primarily been owned outside of Canada by collectors, galleries and auction houses in New York and London. The painting made its Canadian auction debut with Cowley Abbott this season, soaring to $504,000 on November 22nd. The value reached for this important work by Riopelle is one of the highest results achieved for a work dated 1959/circa 1959 by the artist.

J.W. Beatty, Early Spring, Algonquin Park
Price Realized $168,000.00

The astounding result of a J.W. Beatty painting provided an exciting start to the Fall Auction. Early Spring, Algonquin Park soared to $168,000, smashing the pre-sale estimate of $10,000-15,000 with fierce bidding taking place between two dedicated telephone bidders. This oil on board by Beatty glorifies the beauty of the Canadian landscape in the simple representation of light and shadow. This quintessential Canadian landscape painting has been snapped up by a discerning private collector, attaining a new auction record for the artist.

Jack Bush, Purple, Lime, Brown (1965)
Price Realized $432,000.00

Among the star highlights of the auction was a monumental 1965 canvas by Jack Bush entitled, Purple, Lime, Brown. Owned for decades by beloved singer and variety show host, Andy Williams and his wife, Deborah, this painting is a prime example of Bush’s best work in oil. Executed during a significant time in the artist’s career in 1965, the year in which Bush held his first solo European exhibition at London’s Waddington Galleries. Bush reserved his best work from 1964 and early 1965, in total nine paintings, to impress the overseas crowd for this important exhibition. Purple, Lime, Brown was one such work. 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. The painting then returned to Canada, after 56 years abroad, to be offered by Cowley Abbott in the November 22nd evening auction. This important 1965 work by the celebrated colour-field painter has now found its new home with a Canadian buyer after ascending to $432,000 after considerable competition between bidders at the Four Seasons Hotel. This masterwork 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 the fall of 2020. Cowley Abbott is thrilled to have been entrusted with these phenomenal artworks.

Marcel Barbeau, Rétine Ying Yang
Price Realized $60,000.00

Two avant-garde artistic groups that dominated the Quebec art scene starting in the 1940s, les Automatistes and the Plasticiens, were well represented in the catalogue auction. Rétine Ying Yang by Marcel Barbeau is a bold and mesmerizing black and white abstract canvas. A member of Les Automatistes, Barbeau was also influenced by post-war abstract movements in France. Rétine Ying Yang is aligned in formalist concerns with Op Art, an extension of hard-edge painting characterized by lines, shapes and movement that appear to the viewer as a result of optical illusions. This confident and arresting work from 1966 sold for a price realized of $60,000. Jacques Hurtubise, who was enamored with the spontaneous and gestural painting of the Abstract Expressionist, developed a unique style that straddled painterliness and hard-edge painting. Rose Slush, attaining $28,800, contains Hurtubise’s signature ‘gestural splash’ forms.

Rita Letendre, WYKI
Price Realized $26,400.00

As one of the few women artists at the centre of abstract art in Canada, Rita Letendre held an important position in Canadian art history, having produced some of the most innovative examples of post-war art. Regrettably the artist passed away shortly before our evening auction in the fall. Cowley Abbott is honoured to have been entrusted with WYKI, dating to 1975. This magnetic canvas explores her fascination with depicting speed and vibration and was greatly admired by collectors selling for $26,400.

Molly Lamb Bobak, Beach Crowd
Price Realized $108,000.00

The auction house was delighted to offer two works by the accomplished female artist, Molly Lamb Bobak. Beach Crowd is an important example of the artist’s lively crowd scenes, her most celebrated subject. This cheerful and vibrant work fetched $108,000, a new record at auction for the sought-after artist. Bobak’s Interior, appearing serene and static in nature, yet quietly energetic, was popular amongst collectors, selling for $22,800.

Kim Dorland, Alley
Price Realized $31,200.00

Contemporary Canadian artists continue to experience ample interest at auction. Kim Dorland, who is based in Toronto, pushes the boundaries of pictorial representation in his electric oeuvre. Alley, painted in 2006, when the artist had solidified his artistic style and was beginning to see significant success in the gallery world. The scene, with graffiti on the garage door, recalls the gritty, working-class environment Dorland grew up in and challenges the conventional notion of the romantic Canadian landscape. This gestural work realized $31,200, further solidifying his robust secondary market after Cowley Abbott set the auction record for the contemporary painter’s work in spring 2021 with Green Tree Blue Tree ($66,000).

Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun, Landscape, Spruce Pine Beetle Kill
Price Realized $78,000.00 (Auction Record)

A prolific and provocative Indigenous artist, Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun is a Vancouver based contemporary artist of Coast Salish and Okanagan descent. Landscape, Spruce Pine Beetle Kill contains many of the elements employed by Yuxweluptun to articulate, through an Indigenous lens, the impact of colonial paradigms that have led to the desecration of land and, in turn, the lives of Indigenous peoples. This critical painting that speaks to humanity across the globe exceeded the pre-sale estimate to sell for $78,000, setting an auction record for this remarkable artist.

William Kurelek, Behold Man Without God (#3)
Price Realized $78,000.00

William Kurelek, Behold Man Without God (#3) (auction estimate: $60,000 – $80,000) is a well-known image for the artist, as versions of this painting currently hang in the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Winnipeg Art Gallery. It is a decidedly personal and dark portrait of human hypocrisy. Consigned from a New Jersey collection, this detailed and noteworthy painting realized $78,000 in the evening auction.

Lawren Harris, Near Métis, Quebec
Price Realized $114,000.00

A rare depiction of the Quebec landscape, Lawren Harris’ Near Métis, Quebec appeared for the first time at auction this season. The composition drew bidder interest from across Canada the moment the catalogue was published, offering a glimpse into the little-known vacations in Quebec that the artist took in the prime years of his career. This important oil on panel fetched $114,000 and was complemented by two exquisite drawings by Harris also offered in the auction. Tonquin Valley, Jasper and Study for ‘Lake, North Labrador’ were both widely admired and achieved success.

A.Y. Jackson, Morning, St. Tite des Caps
Price Realized $55,200.00

Admiration for the Group of Seven was apparent with the realization of four paintings by the renowned artist A.Y. Jackson. Morning, St. Tite des Caps, a depiction of the valley northeast of Quebec City hammered down at $55,200, and St. Lawrence At Trois Pistoles, Quebec sold for $31,200. Two works gifted directly from the artist after his various visits to Onward Ranch in Cariboo, British Columbia attained $26,400 and $24,000, respectively. Paintings by Edwin Holgate and Franz Johnston experienced significant results in the auction, while A.J. Casson rounded out the Group of Seven offerings with Near Kincardine reaching $40,800 and Woodland obtaining $31,200.

Arthur Heming,A Rocky Mountain Packet
Price Realized $36,000.00

Historical Canadian art demanded attention at the auction, signified by the auction record achieved for Wyatt Eaton, a Barbizon school painter. La Moisson (The Harvest) is a well-executed study for the canvas in the collection of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, exuding warmth, sentimentality and Eaton’s skill in draughtsmanship. The gravity of this work was astutely recognized by collectors, selling for $11,400 at the Fall Auction. A rare and vibrant canvas by Arthur Heming, a favourite ahead of the auction and from the collection of General Motors, achieved $36,000. Two works by Cornelius Krieghoff were offered in the evening auction – a nostalgic winter scene with ladies and a habitant sleighing extended to $48,000, while The Old Habitant, a man in a red toque with a jug of ale in hand and an impish grin sold for $27,600.

Frederick Verner, Elk Browsing
Price Realized $27,500.00

Further interest for historical works was displayed when Girl in a Dutch Bonnet, a charming portrait of a young subject by Laura Muntz fetched $13,200. Two works by Frederick Verner were highly sought after by buyers – Elk Browsing, an 1888 oil on canvas once owned by Henry Winnett, the “Queen’s Hotelier”, sold for $27,500, and the first work exhibited by the artist with the Ontario Society of Artists in 1873, The Rest, Muskoka River, found a new owner for $10,800. Similarly, a serene and contemplative work be William Brymner, Longings/At the Window was a favourite amongst collectors during the previews and sold for $28,800 the night of the live auction. To no one’s surprise on the Cowley Abbott team, Quebec Village in Winter by R.S. Hewton, a joyful and vibrant winter landscape, rose to $28,800, more than doubling its estimate.

James Wilson Morrice, A Bridge in London
Price Realized $192,000.00

One of the most anticipated lots of the evening was a rare work by J.W. Morrice, A Bridge in London (ca.1913-15). This intimate oil on board, executed while the artist was in London, soared to $192,000 from the pre-sale estimate of $50,000-70,000. An impressive result for this busy urban scene by Morrice.

Doris McCarthy, Brigus, Newfoundland
Price Realized $78,000.00

A continually favoured painter amongst collectors is Doris McCarthy, an artist known for her wonderful character and effervescent personality. Two rare depictions of small towns in Newfoundland were entrusted to Cowley Abbott for the Fall Auction. Brigus, Newfoundland, a simple and bright depiction of the local architecture was competed for, selling at $78,000. Equally a beautiful depiction of the province’s rocky shorelines, Bishop’s Harbour, Newfoundland attained $16,800. Arctic scenes by McCarthy are widely beloved for their clear colours and simple, abstract shapes. Reflections in the Melt Water continues to explore the North through geometric forms and after competitive bidding the work was hammered down by the auctioneer at $64,900.

William Perehduoff, AC-78-28
Price Realized $48,000.00

A prime highlight from the collection of abstract paintings in the auction were two works by William Perehudoff. AC-78-28, a vibrating and electrically coloured canvas measuring 31.25 x 94 inches achieved $48,000. Another work by the artist which pulsed with energy is AC-83-94. The bold strips of colour on this canvas caught the attention of buyers and after a frenzy of bidding a telephone bidder won at $24,000.

This Fall Auction was a delight to execute through all the stages of collecting, cataloguing, research and promotion. Cowley Abbott spent close to 150 hours previewing the 83 works of art offered in the catalogue and thoroughly enjoyed sharing and discussing the artworks with collectors and art lovers alike. The opportunity to host a live auction with an in-person audience at the Four Seasons was of supreme importance to the firm and we extend our thanks to the collectors, clients, bidders and buyers who ensured that the Fall Live Auction of Important Canadian was a triumph. We look forward to the Spring Auction and connecting further with the Canadian Art community.

View the complete Fall Live Auction of Important Canadian Art results.

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Cowley Abbott’s Fall International Art Auction Features Multiple Important Works by the Twentieth Century Icon

Andy Warhol, Howdy Doody
Auction Estimate: $55,000-75,000

“Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art”.

-Andy Warhol

The candid Press Release from Ronald Feldman Fine Arts in 1981 for the exhibition of Warhol’s Myths Series, invites the public to the opening on Saturday, September 12th.  It goes onto state which characters are included in the series and that they were derived from original photographs Warhol took of actors he hired or acquaintances portraying each character. 

The Press Release goes onto say “They represent fantasies, dreams, hopes and fears.”

It is interesting that Warhol choose these characters and included himself as “The Shadow”, the last print in the series. The Myth Series is now one of the most discussed and written about collection of prints by Andy Warhol.

Perry Tung discussing Howdy Doody

Cowley Abbot is pleased to offer two works from this iconic series, both consigned from an Important Private Collection. Howdy Doody was one of the first television shows to be shown in colour and apparently the show was used to sell color television sets in the 1950s. Like the other characters from the series the image of Howdy Doody was not appropriated from the media but was based on a photograph that Warhol took of the puppet.

Andy Warhol, Mammy
Auction Estimate: $35,000-50,000

The second work we are offering from Myths is Mammy. Not a character from a specific story, but she is a character that can be seen in various forms of popular culture. Warhol photographed Sylvia Williams, who was the former director of the National Museum of African American Art at the Smithsonian, in the role of the maternal figure.

Perry Tung discussing Mammy
Andy Warhol, Marilyn Monroe I Love Your Kiss Forever (1964)
Auction Estimate: $1,000-1,500
Perry Tung discussing Marilyn Monroe I Love Your Kiss Forever Forever 1964

Also included in the auction are a further two works by Andy Warhol, both inspired by women he adored. Marilyn Monroe I Love Your Kiss Forever Forever 1964 is from the unsigned edition of 2000 issued in an unbound book entitled “1cent Life”. The book was compiled by Walasse Ting and Sam Francis. This work was adapted from a painting Warhol did of Marilyn Monroe’s lips in 1962 and incorporates the poem “Jade White Butterfly” by Walasse Ting.

Cowley Abbott is pleased to have been entrusted with these renowned works for auction. The entire Fall Auction of International Art can be viewed by following this link.

Literature: “Press Release for Andy Warhol’s ‘Myths’”, Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York, September 1st, 1981 [online publication]

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Jack Bush, Purple, Lime, Brown (1965)

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.

Drawing pre-sale attention is an important work by celebrated artist Jean Paul Riopelle. Painted while the artist lived abroad, Sans titre (circa 1959) (auction estimate: $300,000 – $500,000) has primarily been owned outside of Canada by collectors, galleries and auction houses in New York and London. The painting makes its Canadian auction
debut with Cowley Abbott this season.
A rare depiction of the Quebec landscape, Lawren Harris’ Near Métis, Quebec is appearing for the first time at auction this season, the charming composition already drawing bidder interest from across Canada.
William Kurelek, Behold Man Without God (#3) (auction estimate: $60,000 – $80,000) is a well-known image for the artist, as versions of this painting currently hang in the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Winnipeg Art Gallery. It is a highly personal and dark portrait of human hypocrisy, with a title that gestures toward religious redemption that
signals a harrowing and transformative moment in his life.
 
When Kurelek created multiple versions of a painting, it underlined his valuation of the message. However, his replicated work tended to be bucolic Prairie landscapes coveted by collectors. He rarely reprised scenes of devastation and violence, or paintings that emphasized his devout Roman Catholic worldview. In this regard, the Behold Man Without God series is remarkable. Consigned from a New Jersey collection. 
Molly Lamb Bobak’s, Beach Crowd (auction estimate: $40,000 – $60,000) is a prime example of the artist’s lively crowd scenes, her most celebrated subject, and could break the artist’s record at auction (Highland Games, Fredericton established the artist record in 2019, selling for $100,300 at Cowley Abbott). Beach Crowd comes from a private collection in Boston.
Kim Dorland’s, Alley, (auction estimate: $25,000 – $30,000) was painted in 2006, when Dorland had solidified his artistic style and was beginning to see significant success in the gallery world.The scene, with graffiti on the garage door, recalls the gritty, working-class environment Dorland grew up in and challenges the conventional notion of the romantic Canadian landscape.
 
Cowley Abbott set the auction record for the contemporary painter’s work in spring 2021 with Green Tree Blue Tree fetching $66,000. Interest in Alley (which has been exhibited in shows and reproduced in publications related to Dorland’s career) is already receiving strong interest to potentially challenge the high-mark. From a New York City collection.
Cornelius Krieghoff’s Ladies and Habitant Sleighing in Winter (auction estimate: $25,000 – $35,000) exhibits the hallmarks of a classic snowy landscape by the artist. A highly sought-after subject matter, the winter sleighing scene was one Krieghoff returned to often and continues to be a coveted token of early Canadian art, culture, and life.
From a collection in Arizona.
Frederick Verner painted Elk Browsing (auction estimate: $30,000 – $40,000) when he was at the height of his career in 1888. This oil on canvas reflects his confidence in broadening the range of subject matter for his art, and was a departure from his depictions of buffalo and First Nations peoples, for which he was renowned. From a California collection and a descendant of Henry Winnett – who was a well-known hotelier in Toronto, London and Niagara in the late 1800s/early 1900s.
The influence of the Group of Seven and Lawren Harris is evident in Reflections in the Melt Water (auction estimate: $12,000 – $15,000) by Doris McCarthy, signified by the stripped back arctic landscape emphasized by simple abstract shapes. C
onsigned from a collector in Nebraska.

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.

Posted by & filed under Cowley Abbott News & Press, Cowley Abbott Updates, Sale Updates.

Jean Paul Riopelle, Sans titre (circa 1959)

Cowley Abbott’s 2021 Fall Live Auction of Important Canadian Art presents strong examples of Quebec post-war abstract painting, by artists who took varying approaches to gestural and hard-edge styles within a thriving and groundbreaking art scene.

Canada’s breakthrough into abstraction largely began in Montréal in the 1940s. ​​Two avant-garde artistic groups came to dominate the Quebec art scene: les Automatistes, formed in the mid-1940s who shared an interest in gestural abstract painting inspired by the surrealist practice of automatic writing and drawing, and the Plasticiens, a hard-edge abstraction movement formed in 1954 by a group of artists who sought a return to order and control.

The catalogue cover lot, Sans titre (circa 1959) (pictured above) is a masterpiece by Jean Paul Riopelle, one of Canada’s most celebrated artists. The oil on canvas contains energetic brushstrokes that are at once controlled and spontaneous. Riopelle was a prominent member of Les Automatistes and signatory of the 1948 manifesto Refus Global, until he moved to France in 1947. There, he became acquainted with André Breton and the Surrealist circle. After many exhibitions and an active artistic production, including Sans titre (circa 1959), Riopelle returned to Québec in 1972.

Marcel Barbeau, Rétine Ying Yang

Rétine Ying Yang by Marcel Barbeau is a bold and mesmerizing black and white abstract canvas. A fellow member of Les Automatistes, Barbeau was also influenced by post-war abstract movements in France, and his travels in Europe and the United States. These experiences helped him form a distinct and more international style of abstract painting. Rétine Ying Yang is aligned in formalist concerns with Op Art, an extension of hard-edge painting characterized by lines, shapes and movement that appear to the viewer as a result of optical illusions. The painting was completed in 1966, while Barbeau was living in New York City and exhibiting with the American Op Art School.

Jean McEwen, Suite des pays vastes

Born in 1923, Jean McEwen trained as a pharmacist at the University of Montreal and wrote poetry for Québec based literary journals. As a self-taught artist, he was most interested in the feelings that paintings gave him and the exploration of colour and light. McEwen was mentored by Automatiste artist Paul Émilie Borduas in the early 1950s and traveled to Paris for a year to study with Jean Paul Riopelle. Following his European sojourn, the artist adopted a style that loosely combined French Impressionists as well as American Abstract Expressionism. Suite des pays vastes, dating to 1972, embodies McEwen’s signature style of large, open areas of layered and softly-applied colour, creating complex and moody compositions.

Rita Letendre, WYKI

As one of the few women artists at the centre of abstract art in Canada, Rita Letendre holds an important position in Canadian art history, having produced some of the most innovative examples of post-war art. She is an example of a painter who fluctuated between gestural and hard-edge abstraction throughout her prolific career. WYKI, dating to 1975, explores her fascination with depicting speed and vibration. The use of the airbrush technique, combined with sharp wedges or arrows that cut across the image plane, was characteristic of her large canvases from the decade. 

Jacques Hurtubise, Rose Slush

Jacques Hurtubise attended the École des beaux-arts de Montréal until 1960, when a grant enabled the young painter to spend nine months in New York. There, he became enamored with the spontaneous and gestural painting of the Abstract Expressionists, such as De Kooning and Pollock. Hurtubise divided his time between Montreal and New York for much of the 1960s, as he developed his unique style that straddled painterliness and hard-edge painting throughout his career. Rose Slush contains Hurtubise’s signature ‘gestural splash’ forms, during the 1980s when he was exploring the theme of symmetry.

These five abstract paintings in the November 22nd auction serve as fantastic examples of the varying and converging directions taken by Quebec’s avant-garde artists in the post-war era. Of course, the sale also includes numerous other important works of art on offer, by historical, Group of Seven, abstract and realist, Indigenous and contemporary artists. The complete catalogue of artworks included in the Fall Live Auction of Important Canadian Art can be found by following this link. For more information on the sale, to book a private preview appointment, and for  information on our consignment process, please contact us at [email protected].