Riopelle Paintings Lead Way in Heffel's
$11.7 Million Dollar Fine Art Auction

Toronto - November 24, 2006 - (11:30pm EST)

Jean-Paul Riopelle
Il etait une fois une ville

A large, vibrant, mosaic oil on canvas Il etait une fois une ville brought in $1,667,500 (includes premium) for a record price in a Canadian auction for work by legendary artist Jean-Paul Riopelle. The other two Riopelles exceeded their estimates and those three paintings alone totaled $2.2-million in sales. The three Riopelle canvases were among over 23 paintings to exceed a hammer price of $100,000; and helped push the Heffel brothers to $11.7-million in sales. The record auction sale in Canadian history was Heffel's Toronto sale in November 2005 at $12.5-million.

A standing room only crowd of 450 bidders was on hand and over 100 bidders called in by phone to the ballroom at Toronto's Park Hyatt Hotel. If there is a message taken from this sale - it is that the art market continues strong in Canada. Over half of the 217 lots in the Fall auction exceeded high estimates and there were few bargains to be had.

"We are thrilled with the strong bidding in the room and on the phones this evening," says David Heffel, president. "There were serious bidders from across Canada, as well as phone bidders from the United States, the U.K. and Asia, all attempting to land works by some of Canada's best artists."

Tom Thomson's dramatic display of the Aurora Borealis, titled Northern Lights received a lot of presale interest. Four phone bidders fought over the 8-1/2 by 10-1/2 inch panel which had an estimate of $275,000 to $375,000. When the dust settled, it doubled its estimate selling for $776,250.

Helen McNicoll
A Welcome Breeze

Canada's elite female artists are well represented in this sale. Three of Helen McNicoll's paintings sold for over $100,000. The catalogue cover image A Welcome Breeze sold for $287,500.

Two of Emily Carr's paintings sold in excess of $100,000. Cathedral, an oil on paper from the late 1930s depicting a forest scene sold for $345,000. Emily Carr's The Cove sold for $138,000.

Clarence Gagnon was one of Canada's first esteemed Impressionist artists. Twilight in the Laurentians, Winter, oil on canvas, circa 1910 was the best of his four paintings in the sale. The image with its brilliant light-streaked sky motivated bids to $287,500. This image is featured on the cover of the French version of the Heffel's Fall auction catalogue.

"Art values have dramatically risen for Canada's premier art works over recent years. Tonight's sale was an amazing event to work," says Robert Heffel, one of the evening's auctioneers. "With Canadian art masterworks from the 1800s through to the present, entrusted from collections across the country, the sale was beautiful to look at and wonderful to sell. Bidders fought fiercely over almost every lot."

It is rare that a manuscript comes along with the historical value of the Sir John A. MacDonald's eight page letter, dated April 9, 1867. The lot set a record price in auction for a Canadian manuscript with the $34,500 sale. It sold to a buyer in Western Canada.

The Heffel's current on line auction featuring 283 lots of fine Canadian art can be viewed at with the three sessions concluding at 2pm, 3pm and 4pm Pacific Time on Saturday, November 25, 2006.

Records at Heffel Auction - November 24, 2006

A total of 14 Canadian fine art records were set for the Heffel Fine Art Auction tonight. All listed record prices, both include the buyers premium on the hammer price.

1. Record Price in auction for a Sybil Andrews print (lot 1): $74,750
2. Record Price in auction for a Frederick Varley watercolour (lot 4): $63,250
3. Record Price in auction for a Maurice Cullen pastel (lot 14): $80,500
4. Record Price in auction for a Tom Thomson water colour (lot 40): $43,125
5. Record Price in auction for a Nora Collyer painting(lot 85): $138,000
6. Record Price in auction for a Marion Long painting(lot 103): $31,625
7. Record Price in auction for a work in Canadian silver (lot 116): $43,125
8. Record Price in auction for a Canadian manuscript (lot 117): $34,500
9. Record Price in Cdn auction for a Jean-Paul Riopelle painting(lot 128):$1,667,500
10. Record Price in auction for a Tony Scherman painting(lot 131): $43,125
11. Record Price in auction for a work by Charles Edenshaw (lot 168): $51,750
12. Record Price in auction for a W.P.Weston painting(lot 180): $115,000
13. Record Price in auction for a Doris McCarthy painting (lot 181): $28,750
14. Record Price in auction for a George Arbuckle painting (lot 198): $14,950

Top Five Paintings Sold - Heffel Fine Art Auction - November 24, 2006

These are the top ten highest selling paintings at the Heffel Fine Art Auction tonight.
All prices include the 15% buyers premium added to the hammer price.


Jean-Paul Riopelle

Il etait une fois une ville

Lot 128
oil on canvas
76-1/2 x 51 in



Tom Thomson

Northern Lights

Lot 79
oil on divided Panel
8-1/2 x 10-1/2 in



Jean-Paul Riopelle

Le progrès envahi par la forêt

Lot 125
oil on canvas
28-1/2 x 23-3/4 in



Alexander Colville

Kiss with Honda

Lot 129
acrylic polymer emulsion on board
12 1/4 x 24 1/2 in



Lawren Harris

Geometric Composition

Lot 127
oil on canvas
41 x 40 in



Emily Carr


Lot 167
oil on canvas
32-1/2 x 22-1/2 in



Helen Galloway McNicoll

A Welcome Breeze

Lot 18
oil on canvas
20 x 24 in



Clarence Alphonse Gagnon

Twilight in the Laurentians, Winter

Lot 64
oil on canvas
20 1/8 x 26 1/4 in



Helen Galloway McNicoll

Picking Fruit

Lot 21
oil on canvas
32 x 26 in



David Brown Milne

Autumn Hills and Dark Pines

Lot 8
oil on canvas
20 1/4 x 26 1/4 in


Based on total net sales and their outlets in Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Vancouver, the Heffel brothers operate Canada's only truly national fine art auction house. This national presence continues to help generate major consignments from coast to coast.

The next live Heffel auction takes place at Vancouver's Shearton Wall Centre Hotel in May 2007. Consignments and appraisals in advance of the Spring sale are conducted from Heffel's four outlets.

For media access to high-res jpg images of record setting paintings in the Heffel's Fall Auction, please copy this link:


Robert Heffel cell 604-418-0100 or
David Heffel 1-888-418-6505

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