Heffel Canadian = 17.2m CAD

Harris - Laurentian Landscape

Heffel’s Spring auction made $17.2 million on presale estimates of $9 million to $12 million (all prices are in Canadian dollars and include an 18 per cent buyer’s premium). Here are some of the noteworthy sales provided by the auctioneer’s publicity department:


  • Lawren Harris’s Laurentian Landscape, sold for $2,183,000 (est. $1,200,000 – 1,600,000).
  • E.J. Hughes’s 1949 post-war canvas The Post Office at Courtenay, BC outperformed its presale estimate and sold for $1,593,000 (est. $600,000 – 800,000).
  • Two works by Alex Colville produced significant results, Swimming Dog and Canoe far surpassed its presale estimate of $300,000 to $500,000 and sold for $1,180,000 and the 1950s portrait Racer sold for $560,500 (est. $500,000 – 600,000).
  • Guido Molinari’s commanding large-scale work Sans titre shattered the artist record and sold for $354,000 (est. $100,000 – 150,000) while the celebrated 1955 canvas, Composition by Jean Paul Riopelle brought in $649,000 (est. $400,000 – 600,000).
  • Two Lawren Harris oil on board sketches from the Group of Seven period outshined their estimates at the auction.Coldwell, Lake Superior, Lake Superior Sketch XXII sold for $649,000 (est. $450,000 – 550,000) and Mount Sampson, Maligne Lake for $413,000 (est. $250,000 – 300,000).
  • The sale included notable works by all original members of the Group of Seven. Farm at St. Tite des Caps, a quintessential snow scene canvas by A.Y. Jackson, achieved $354,000 (est. $300,000 – 500,000).

Heritage Spring Modern & Contemporary = $6.8m

Willem de Kooning, East Hampton II, 1968  (600-800k USD)

Heritage continues to make progress in its New York sales of Modern & Contemporary art. This time around, they held a separate sale for prints and multiples which brought their total to $6.8m across the Evening, Day and multiples sale events. Here are the top ten works:

  1. Willem de Kooning, East Hampton II, 1968: Realized $802,000
  2. Helen Frankenthaler, Tantric, 1977: Realized $610,000
  3. Jeff Koons, Ice Bucket, 1986: Realized $340,000
  4. Milton Avery, Bather, 1961: Realized $292,000.
  5. Fernand Léger, Composition, 1925: Realized $250,000
  6. Fernando Botero, Woman in the Kitchen, 1981: Realized $225,000
  7. Andy Warhol, Ethel Scull, 1963: Realized $200,000
  8. Keith Haring, USA-1, 1984: Realized $162,500
  9. KAWS, Untitled (four works), 1999: Realized $131,250
  10. Sigmar Polke, Untitled, 1997: Realized $130,000



Christie’s Unveils £12m Constable for June Sale

John Constable, Sketch for View of the Stout near Dedham (12-16m GBP)

Christie’s announces a follow-up to their success with John Constable’s The Lock, which sold for £9.1m in December, with a work expected to be in th £12-16m range:

A work of genius by John Constable, R.A. (1776-1837), the full-scale six-foot ‘sketch’ for View on the Stour near Dedham, circa 1821-22, will be offered in Christie’s Defining British Art sale in London on 30 June. The work, the last great six-footer sketch in private hands, clearly illustrates why Constable was considered the father of British Modernism and why the French painters, particularly the Impressionists, revered Constable as an instinctive painter of nature and the elements.

Alex Katz Isn’t Impressed with Picasso’s Dora Maar

Alex Katz, The Green Cap (UBS Art Collection)

There’s going to be a show of Alex Katz’s work in London this Summer at the Serpentine. Gearing up for it, Alastair Sooke spent a little time with the 88-year-old artist. Sooke got a refreshing blast of Katz’s unabashed self-confidence and craftsman’s take on art history.

Here the two strands come together in a discussion of his wife Ada’s stature as a model and a beauty:

He compares her to Picasso’s famous lover and model, Dora Maar. “Dora Maar and Ada? Come on. I mean, they both have great faces. But Ada has a much better neck and shoulders. Picasso faked them – I saw this painting [of Maar], and I said: ‘That girl’s beautiful.’ Then I saw a photo of her and said: ‘Oh, he cheated on the shoulders.’ ”

Typically, the characters in Katz’s paintings are good-looking, smartly dressed and brightly lit, like models in a fashion shoot. They appear affluent, even if they are not: “Most of my paintings are of poor poets and painters,” Katz says. So why the perception that he paints only privilege and prosperity? He shrugs. “I record whatever’s in front of me,” he replies. “It’s the style that’s fancy.”

It’s not until Sooke starts unearthing Katz’s origin story that he gets to the painter’s legitimate claim that just had to be the headline:Continue Reading

When Will the West Coast Start Collecting Art? It Did Long Ago


A couple of weeks ago, the opening of SF MoMA prompted Thomas Sevcik, a strategist, to opine in the Financial Times that the creative industries were turning their orientation toward the West, the Far West where tech and Asia converge.

It’s not a bad thesis but then Sevcik tips his empty hand when he starts to riff on the subject of which West Coast creative types might be persuaded to collect art next.

What Sevcik doesn’t seem to know is that there are many people in Tech who already buy heavily and have for a long time. Not just newer tech people like Marc Andreessen but old tech folks like Paul Allen.

This leads to an important question, one that is regularly heard anywhere art impresarios convene: “Will tech buy art?” The success of all these new ventures depends on the hope that the shift from finance to tech as the key wealth generator will happen smoothly. Traditionally, bankers collected art because many of them had a humanities education. Will people educated in digital technology collect art as well? And, for that matter, will Hollywood’s actors and directors, trained in narrative-creation and self-branding, collect art?

Continue Reading

London’s Photography Sales Bring Peter Beard Back to Prominence


At £5.331m combined proceeds, last week’s London photography sales were hardly anything to write home about. But they were a surprise showing for Peter Beard, the part-time expatriate, sometime husband of models and full-time photographer and collage maker.

His Heart Attack City came within a hair’s breadth of setting a new record for Beard when it sold for $634k. Here’s James Tarmy explaining Beard’s appeal on Bloomberg:

When Peter Beard includes famous people in his art, chances are he actually knew them. That’s certainly true in Heart Attack City, 1972/1998, […]. The collage, which he created in 1998, contains images—many of which Beard took himself—of Jackie Kennedy (a close friend), Andy Warhol (they collaborated on artworks together), Truman Capote (a frequent guest at Beard’s Montauk estate), Mick Jagger (Beard went on tour with the Rolling Stones), and, of course, Marilyn Monroe, possibly the only star in the assemblage with whom Beard wasn’t on cozily intimate terms.

He “discovered” the model Iman (the future Mrs. David Bowie), was painted by Francis Bacon, vacationed with Jackie Kennedy and Aristotle Onassis on his yacht, and starred in a movie.

Given Beard’s frenetic life, it’s no wonder his collages are so jam-packed, and given the glamour and beauty in his life, it’s also unsurprising that his art is so sought-after. Heart Attack City is the most expensive lot in Christie’s entire photography sale; another work by Beard is at the top of Phillip’s London photography auction on May 19th. All told, in the two days of London photography auctions, Christie’s, Sotheby’s, and Phillips are offering 15 works by Beard.

Peter Beard’s ‘Heart Attack City, 1972/1998’ Goes on Auction (Bloomberg)

Here’s the Not-So-Good News from the May Cont Auctions: Day Sales Were Down Too

Sotheby's Cont NY 516 Day

In all of the talk about the Spring Contemporary art sales where many commentators focused on the 90% drop in Christie’s curated evening sale or the weakness in the Impressionist and Modern art market, not much has been said about the drop in sales volume for the three major houses Contemporary art day sales.

These sales are the live blood of the art trade where dealers, advisors and collectors buy stock, spot trends and the auction houses make the majority of their profit because the works in these sales aren’t as competed for. So here’s where an auction house will fatten its margin or just make its operating costs.

The big news of the weeks was that Sotheby’s day sale was down substantially to $54m. The New York Contemporary art day sale at Sotheby’s hasn’t been at that level since 2010. With such a striking pullback, what does the sale mean? And where did Christie’s and Phillips come out? Continue Reading

LAMA Spring Auction = $2.032m

May 22, 2016 Modern Art & Design Auction
Shiela Hicks, Untitled ($40-60k) $125k | Artist’s Record

Los Angeles Modern Auctions held a sale over the weekend that brought in $2m against 326 lots

  1. Isamu Noguchi, Chess Table (1944-1947), (Lot 184, est. $100,000–150,000) realized $137,500
  2. Sheila Hicks, Untitled (1975), (Lot 200, est. $40,000–60,000) brought $125,000, setting an auction record for the artist
  3. Jules Olitski, Love of Ariel (1989), (Lot 229, est. $20,000–30,000) realized $102,500
  4. Tom Wesselmann, Stockinged Nude, Edition #2 (1980), (Lot 34, est. $35,000–$45,000) fetched $71,875
  5. Ken Price, L.A. Riot (1994), (Lot 84, est. $20,000–30,000) realized $58,750, setting an auction record for a work on paper by the artist
  6. Harry Bertoia, Untitled (Sonambient) (c. 1965), (Lot 199, est. $40,000–60,000) realized $53,125
  7. John Register, Motel: Route 66 (1991), (Lot 241, est. $40,000–60,000) totaled $50,000
  8. Harry Bertoia, Untitled (Sonambient) (c. 1965), (Lot 197, est. $30,000–50,000) brought $36,250
  9. Francis Bacon, Triptych (1981), (Lot 165, est. $15,000–20,000) realized $34,375
  10. Andy Warhol, Old Fashioned Vegetable (from Campbell’s Soup II) (1969), (Lot 27, est. $12,000–18,000) brought $28,750