Canadian auction house, Heffel is staging its contemporary evening auction on July 15th, bringing a selection of works by modern namebrands like Jean-Paul Riopelle with leading regional contemporary artists. Held at the Design Exchange in Toronto, the sale will be live-streamed online with remote transactional channels open to bidders.
Heffel’s auction comes at a time when the global market has shifted largely to virtual collecting. “The past few months have brought about unprecedented change, and it’s been incredible to see the ways that organizations have pivoted in response,” said David Heffel, President of Heffel Fine Art Auction House in a statement. “We’re proud to be a leader in the transformation of Canada’s art market and find new ways to bring art awareness, experiences and important masterpieces to collectors and enthusiasts.”
Among the leading lots in the summer auction is a small-scale triptych by abstract expressionist and market mainstay, Joan Mitchell. Each panel measuring at 13 inches by 27 1/4 inches, the small-scale untitled work carries an estimated pre-sale value of CAD 400,000–600,000 (294,377–441,566 USD). The sale marks the first time the undated three-part painting will come to auction— having changed hands several times—the work hails from a Vancouver collection and was originally owned by American painter, Carl Plansky, who studied with Mitchell at the New York Studio School under Hans Hoffman.
According to the work’s catalogue essay, Mitchell used small-scale works to inform her monumental paintings, and the work coming up for sale at Heffel is reminiscent of her 1979 quadriptych La Vie en Rose, which resides in the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Both works feature dark brushstrokes amid a lavender-white scheme that features Mitchell’s fast-handed technique for which she has gained renown.
A top selling artist on the resale market, Mitchell has reached new benchmarks recently and has been the subject of two major exhibitions in the past five years that have contributed to her expanding market value. In 2015 to 2016, she was the subject of a traveling solo survey that opened at Austria’s Kunsthaus Bregenz, and then was featured in the sprawling 2017 to 2018 show Mitchell/Riopelle. Heffel’s upcoming auction brings to the rostrum works by both Mitchell and Riopelle, two of the most significant artists of the postwar vanguard and whose relationship influenced their prolific oeuvres.
The live auction will also include 112 museum-caliber works, estimated to achieve a total result between $10 million to $15 million, including masterworks by Pablo Picasso, Alex Colville and Lawren Harris.