In 1946, Lawren Harris was selliing his canvases for $1oo through a dealer, the Toronto Star explains:
“If I sell them myself to friends they then sell for $75 unframed.” That’s likely how Band, a Toronto businessman and classmate of Harris’s, acquired The Old Stump, Lake Superior, a 1926 study sketch for what would become one of his best known works, North Shore, Lake Superior. It’s now a pillar of the National Gallery’s collection.
The sketch Band picked up at that friendly discount now sits poised to become the most expensive piece of Canadian art of all time. On Thursday, the Heffel Brothers auction house will put the 30-centimetre-by-38-centimetre sketch on the block with a presale estimate ranging between $2 million and $2.5 million.
“But they’ll easily shatter that,” said Anthony Westbridge, the Vancouver-based publisher of the Canadian Art Sales Index. Westbridge, who tracks Canadian auction results, thinks the Harris sketch could push past $5 million and challenge the Canadian record price at auction of $5.1 million, paid by the late Ken Thomson in 2002 for a Paul Kane portrait.
“I’ve spoken with some serious buyers at the high end and they’re of the same opinion,” Westbridge said. “What we’re looking at is something that could really be sensational.”
Last Sold for $75, Is This Sketch Worth $5m at Auction? (Toronto Star)