Heffel in Toronto will be holding its Spring auction on May 30th. Estimated at between C$11 and C$17m, the sale has 118 lots led by Paul-Émile Borduas’s Figures schématiques, a six-by-four-foot work by the Quebec Automatist painter from 1956 with a $3-5m estimate that David Heffel, President of Heffel Fine Art Auction House, called a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to collectors.”
The sale includes a re-discovered work by Tom Thomson, Sketch for Lake in Algonquin Park, which set the groundwork for a major canvas in the National Gallery of Canada (est. $125,000 – 175,000).
The work has an came to Heffel mostly by accident. The consignor of the work grew up with it in her home but never really believed it was a Tom Thomson. It had belonged to her father. But she felt as though her family would not be able to own something of that importance. Her best friend always admired the painting. So the consignor mailed the painting to her best friend for the woman’s 70th birthday. Instead of seeing the gift as a gag, she took it as an opportunity and brought the painting to Heffel’s Vancouver office where they immediately identified it as a Thomson. It has since been checked by multiple experts and scientifically tested.
Heffel provided some additional highlights from the Spring 2018 auction:
- An important portrait by Emily Carr of her Squamish First Nations friend Sophie Frank is included in the spring auction (est. $50,000 – 70,000). The two women shared a very special bond, and the portrait was featured as the frontispiece for Carr’s Klee Wyck, the famous book dedicated “To Sophie.”
- Highlighting the Post-War & Contemporary Art session are two large-scale canvases by internationally collected Jack Bush: the energetic and colourful Strawberry, and Narrow Image, a lively work from his Fishtail series (each est. $350,000 – 450,000).
- Eight lots by Lawren Harris are highlighted by the stunning Group of Seven period Mount Edith Cavell (est. $350,000 – 550,000) and Morning, Lake Superior (est. $100,000 – 150,000), the rare preparatory panel for a major canvas hanging in the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.
- Jean Paul Riopelle shines with two magnificent 1950s canvases, Composition rouge et noir and Sans titre (each est. $300,000 – 500,000). The internationally acclaimed contemporary artist is currently in the spotlight with the exhibition Mitchell/Riopelle: Nothing in Moderation at the Art Gallery of Ontario, which Heffel proudly supported.
- A rare, spiritual treasure, Bill Reid’s 22 karat gold necklace featuring the Dogfish Woman is sure to resonate with enthusiasts. The Haida artist had originally carved the pendant for his wife out of boxwood and later cast this extraordinary gold pendant (est. $225,000 – 275,000).
- Two quintessential Jean Paul Lemieux canvases are included in the sale, led by Le Cavalier dans la neige, a superb landscape known to be favoured by the artist himself (est. $700,000 – 900,000).
- David Milne, whose works are currently on view in an impressive exhibition at the Dulwich Picture Gallery in London, England, is featured in the Canadian, Impressionist & Modern Art session with two watercolours.
- Two works will be offered from the estate of the late, distinguished Canadian philanthropist Liliane M. Stewart. Charrette embourbée, by the famed French artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (est. $30,000 – 40,000) and La pluie sur la tonelle, by Raoul Dufy, stand out in the sale (est. $30,000 – 40,000).