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Cowley Abbott’s Two-Session
Live Auction of Important Canadian Art Shatters 11 Auction Records

Thank you to all of the collectors, bidders and art lovers that ensured our live auction last evening was a resounding success. Marking the first of three landmark live auctions dedicated to this prestigious private collection of Canadian art, a bidding frenzy helped to break 11 artist records with most artworks in the sale exceeding – and often doubling, tripling or more – presale estimates. Cowley Abbott’s two session live auction event, which also included their Live Auction of Important Canadian Art in the afternoon, achieved a combined $19.6 million

The highlight of the evening was an Emily Carr masterwork, The Totem of the Bear and the Moon, 1912, selling for $3.12 million, coming close to challenging the current artist record of $3.39 million. Sold for the first time at auction, this rare canvas has been included in important exhibitions for more than a century.

Also offered for public sale for the first time, Tom Thomson’s Petawawa Gorges (1916) doubled the low-end estimate, selling for $2.22 million to excited audience applause. The painting was part of the artist’s family’s collection for over fifty years before being acquired by the collection owners in 1972. Other versions of this composition are in major public collections across Canada.

A second work by the iconic painter, a rare sketch for a known canvas, Evening, Pine Island, also exceeded expectations, selling for $1.68 million.

The auction set a new artist record for Group of Seven artist A.Y. Jackson with the large oil canvas Tadenac, Novemberachieving $936,000, exceeding the previous record of $760,500.

Internationally celebrated artist James Wilson Morrice’s rare canvas Neige, Canada (Snow Canada) (circa 1905) doubled the presale estimate selling for $1.26 million in its auction debut. The accompanying sketch for the painting, Study for “Neige, Canada” sold for six times the estimate at $408,000.

The oldest painting in the collection, a rare canvas by Paul Kane, Ojibwa Camp in the Spider Islands (c. 1845), sold for $1.08 million.

Frances Anne Hopkins achieved a new artist record of $552,000 with her 1867 canvas Voyageurs Encampment (Camp Scene on the Ottawa), tripling the previous record.

David Milne’s Young Cedars (1919), painted during one of the most esteemed periods of his career, sold for $792,000, more than doubling its presale estimate.

Debuting at auction, Lawren Harris study for a canvas in the collection of the Art Gallery of Ontario, North Shore, Lake Superior, doubled expectations, selling for $1.03 million  

Adrien Hébert, The Eaton’s Window, Montreal (1937) sold for $408,000, nine times the previous artist record of $45,600.

Jock Macdonald’s Drying Herring Roe sold for $408,000, nearly five times the previous record of $88,750.

Records were also set for L.L. FitzGerald, Ozias Leduc, Antoine Sebastien Plamondon, Henry Sandham, Charlotte Schreiber, P.C. Sheppard and Mary Wrinch.  To view the full auction results, please visit:

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The Cowley Abbott team could not be more excited to present these artworks for sale this evening @globeandmailcentre. It has been a privilege to handle these works of art and share them with collectors, clients and art lovers.

Join us tonight in-person at Toronto’s Globe & Mail Centre or livestream the two auction sessions from home.

🔴 Live Auction of Important Canadian Art (Session 1) at 4:00 pm EST

🔴 Live Auction of An Important Private Collection of Canadian Art (Session 2) at 7:00 pm EST

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Of the many regions of Canada painted by the artists associated with the Group of Seven, Algonquin Park remains most intimately associated with Tom Thomson. In this study, and in four others, Thomson has depicted the cliffs rising from the water, framing the narrow gorge. He must have painted them seated in his canoe in the middle of the river.

Join Lydia as she discusses this important painting by Tom Thomson, included in Cowley Abbott’s Live Auction of An Important Private Collection of Canadian Art on Thursday, December 1st at 7:00 pm.

Further details about the artwork can be found here:

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Rob Cowley discusses “Ojibwa Camp in the Spider Islands” by Paul Kane, a canvas which spent more than a century in the collection of the artist’s family.

Join Rob as he chats about this rare artwork, making its auction debut with Cowley Abbott this fall. This painting is featured in the Auction of An Important Private Collection of Canadian Art, the second session of the December 1st, 2022 Cowley Abbott Fall Live Auction.

You can view details of Paul Kane’s “Ojibwa Camp in the Spider Islands” at this link:

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One of the Quebec masters included in our Fall Live Auction of Important Canadian Art (Session 1) is René Marcil. “Abstract #15″ is a modern geometric abstraction, influenced by what the artist witnessed while in Paris. Join Rob as he highlights this artwork, which we are delighted to be offering this auction season.

Find further details about the artwork here:

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We have been entrusted with many fantastic artworks this fall auction season and two paintings by Laura Muntz have captured the attention of one of our specialists, Anna. 

“A Little Girl”, originally in the collection of the artist, was exhibited in 1905 in New York at the National Academy of Design. This painting is engaging, not only for its warmth and naturalness of subject, but because Muntz chose to portray more of a country girl than a city girl, within a setting that indicates country life, with the watchful barnyard cat at the girl’s feet.

Muntz was considered a trailblazer for women artists in Canada and painted this dazzling portrait in 1903. The striking figure in this work is modelled after the artist’s niece, Elizabeth. Echoes of this painting can be seen in the subject of “Oriental Poppies” of 1915, a canvas in the collection of the Art Gallery of Ontario.

We hope you will join us on December 1st at Toronto’s Globe & Mail Centre when these artworks will make their debut at auction with Cowley Abbott.

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Rob Cowley highlights the exquisite details of this masterful painting by Antoine Plamondon, included in the Live Auction of An Important Private Collection of Canadian Art.

Further details about the painting can be found here at Don’t miss your opportunity to view the artwork before it goes back into private hands and tune in to the auction on December 1st at 7:00 pm EST.

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« Terre féconde » fût complété en 1961 durant une période charnière de la carrière de Rita Letendre. Au fur et à mesure qu’elle est devenue plus habile avec les matériaux de peinture tout en ayant plus de temps pour travailler, elle a commencé à créer de plus grandes toiles avec des explosions de couleur. Katherine examine la carrière de l’artiste durant cette période et explore le dynamisme que l’on retrouve dans cette toile magnifique.

Ce tableau sera offert dans le cadre de notre vente aux enchères en direct présentant les œuvres d’une importante collection privée d’art canadien qui aura lieu jeudi le 1er décembre à 16 h.

“Terre feconde”, dating to 1961, was completed during a pivotal period of growth in Rita Letendre’s career. As she became better equipped with painting materials and more time to work, she began creating larger canvases with explosions of colour. Katherine looks deeper into the artist’s career at this time and explores the vibrancy of this stunning canvas.

This painting will be offered in our Fall Live Auction of Important Canadian Art taking place this Thursday, December 1st at 4:00 pm. Further details about the painting can be found here:

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Rob Cowley recently spoke with Global News to discuss the auction debut of an Important Private Collection of Canadian Art with Cowley Abbott. It has been a thrill to share these artworks with collectors, art lovers and the public. We look forward to offering these artworks on the podium his coming Thursday, December 1st , many of them making their auction debut.

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Peter highlights a fantastic J.E.H. MacDonald painting included in our Live Auction of Important Canadian Art. 

In 1911 J.E.H. MacDonald resigned from Grip Limited, wanting to pursue painting full-time. He organized an exhibition of his work at the Arts and Letters Club in Toronto. Lawren Harris attended this show and was struck by MacDonald’s painting. The next year the two artists held a joint exhibition, encouraging each other to continue to paint and exhibit. MacDonald was receiving acclaim and recognition for his work, a marked sign to continue to pursue an artistic career.

In this early sketch of Georgian Bay, the location is identified as “south point of Dr. MacCallum’s Island looking west”. Here, MacDonald has captured the intense heavy clouds and choppy waters as they crash into the inlet. Thanks to Dr. MacCallum, Georgian Bay would become a regular destination for sketching trips for members of the Group of Seven.

1912 was an important year for MacDonald as he launched his career as a professional artist and began painting the northern landscape of Georgian Bay and the Muskoka districts of Ontario. His painting style was still heavily influenced by Impressionism and MacDonald was an advocate for the small oil sketch produced “en plein-air”. As Nancy E. Robertson remarked in the exhibition catalogue for the J.E.H. MacDonald retrospective, in which this painting was included: “[MacDonald’s] interest in untamed and unlimited nature…continued to develop and to urge him into new areas. He was equally attracted by the closed intimate nooks and the great open expanses of water and sky. In the large dramatic productions of nature, MacDonald assures man a place, never greater than nature but never at the mercy of nature.”

To learn more about this artwork, visit and book your preview appointment to view the painting in-person.