Heffel Fall 2011 Auction breaks world record for a Canadian contemporary painting, total sales reach $16.8 million

Jean Paul Lemieux's Nineteen Ten Remembered sold for more than $2 million, breaking global sales record for post-war and contemporary Canadian art sold at auction

TORONTO, Nov. 24, 2011


  • Heffel's Fall 2011 Auction is now the fifth highest grossing live auction, totalling $16.73 million in sales.
  • Jean Paul Lemieux's Nineteen Ten Remembered sold for $2.34 million, breaking the international auction record for a Canadian post-war and contemporary work, breaking the record previously set by Riopelle.
  • Emily Carr's War Canoe, Alert Bay sold for $1.22 million, breaking the record for most valuable Canadian watercolour sold at auction.
  • Lawren Stewart Harris's Rocky Mountain Sketch CXXI (Mount Robson) sold well above asking for an impressive $1.81 million.
Jean Paul Lemieux
Jean Paul Lemieux
Nineteen Ten Remembered

TORONTO, Nov. 24, 2011 / - Tonight, Heffel Fine Art Auction House opened the Fall 2011 Canadian Auction season with a record-shattering sale of masterworks from prominent estates, placing it within the top 10 grossing auctions of Canadian art of all time. The auction, held in Toronto, attracted more than 400 attendees and resulted in $16.73 million in total sales (all prices are in Canadian dollars and include a 17 per cent buyer's premium) and is now the fifth highest grossing live auction in Canadian history. Of the 190 lots, three sold for more than $1 million dollars and more than 30 works sold for more than $100,000.

The highlight of the evening was the record-breaking sale of Jean Paul Lemieux's Nineteen Ten Remembered. The masterpiece sold for $2.34 million, shattering the worldwide record for post-war and contemporary Canadian art sold at auction. This surpasses the previous auction record set by Jean-Paul Riopelle (sold in May 2008 in NYC for CDN $1.89M) and crowns Lemieux as the new reigning champion of post-war and contemporary Canadian art.

"In May 2011, Heffel sold another major work by Jean Paul Lemieux ushering him into the rarefied group of 'million-dollar' Canadian artists," explains David K.J. Heffel, President and Auctioneer. "Tonight he becomes the first-ever contemporary Canadian artist to be crowned a 'two-million-dollar man."

Excitement for Lemieux works continued when Les voyageurs, a 39 3/4 x 74 3/8 inch oil on canvas, signed and dated 1964, sold for $702,000 (pre-sale estimate was $350,000 ~ $450,000 CAD). A later work by Lemieux, Le croisement, sold for $304,200. In all, Lemieux alone accounted for sales of $3.99 million.

William Kurelek
William Kurelek
Return to Camp in Winter

Another highlight was the sale of William Kurelek's Return to Camp in Winter. The lot sold for more than double the estimate at $210,600 (estimate was $60,000 ~ $80,000). There is currently a large exhibit of his work at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.

Lawren Stewart Harris's Rocky Mountain Sketch CXXI (Mount Robson) was estimated to sell for $300,000~$500,000. After an intense bidding war, the notable piece exceeded the estimate, selling for $1.81 million. This was one of two works for which the consignee generously agreed to donate proceeds to Toronto's Women's College Hospital.

Along with Harris, the auction also featured pieces by Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven who are all enjoying renewed international interest given the current UK exhibit at London's Dulwich Gallery.

The François Dupré Collection, among the most significant private collections of Canadian impressionism to ever be auctioned, was conservatively estimated to yield between $1 million and $1.5 million. These works were of particular interest as they had been hidden away in a bank vault for nearly 25 years. The collection surpassed estimates, selling for $2.27 million in the end, more than twice the low estimate. Highlights of this collection included Gagnon's Environs de Baie-Saint-Paul ($315,900) Maurice Galbraith Cullen`s Lower Town, Quebec ($280,800), J.W. Morrice`s Régates à Saint-Malo ($526,500) and M.A. Suzor-Coté's Winter Sunglow: Arthabaska ($269,100).

Lawren Stewart Harris
Lawren Stewart Harris
Rocky Mountain Sketch CXXI
(Mount Robson)

"From works found lying in barn to hidden treasures that have been unseen for more than 20 years, many of the paintings consigned to us for this sale carry a fascinating past and are just outstanding," said Mr. Heffel. "The resulting sales are a testament to the quality of works we were offering and we are very pleased with the results."

Breaking a new record as well was Jack Bush's Sing, Sing, Sing (BG 38), an oil canvas signed and dated December 1974 sold for $234,000.

Tonight's sales result of $16.73 million is well beyond the $8.5 to $12.7 million presale estimate. The Canadian post-war & contemporary art session, which commenced at 4 p.m. EST, had sales totalling $6.95 million, making it the second highest post-war and contemporary Canadian sale ever conducted by Heffel. The fine Canadian art session began at 7 p.m. EST and had a sales total of $9.6 million.

New Records set in Heffel's November 24, 2011 Fine Art Auction

These are the 10 new records set during Heffel's Fall 2011 Auction. All prices include the 17 per cent buyers' premium added to the hammer price. High-resolution images of the top paintings in the auction can be provided upon request.

Information on the pieces and artists can also be found at www.heffel.com.

About Heffel Fine Art Auction House

Heffel has sold more Canadian art than any other auctioneer worldwide, with over $275 million in art auction sales since 1995, and has conducted the most valuable live auctions of Canadian art. Heffel is led by the most experienced team of fine art specialists in Canada. With offices and representatives in Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Calgary, Heffel provides superior client services to both sellers and buyers nationwide. In addition to full-colour printed catalogues, Heffel publishes its entire live auction online at www.heffel.com, from initial promotion and illustrated lot listings, to the auction's live multi-camera webcast and final sale results.

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