A painting by Alex Colville shattered a sales record for a work by the renowned Canadian artist at an auction held in Toronto Wednesday, while works of artists including Pablo Picasso, Joan Mitchell and Lawren Harris also fetched strong prices.
The Nova Scotia artist’s 1976 canvas Dog and Bridge sold for more than $2.4 million — doubling the top end of its pre-sale estimated value of $1.2 million (all prices include a buyer’s premium).
The work had been owned privately for decades and had never appeared at auction before.
David Heffel, president of Heffel Fine Art Auction House, says presenting a masterpiece as special as Colville’s Dog and Bridge was a highlight and added he was ‘thrilled” the excitement was matched by bidders, even during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This sale and all of the incredible works on offer proved that even during times of change, art continues to inspire and provide a beacon of light,” he said.
Other works also saw strong bidding, with several lots beating their previous artist records.
Pablo Picasso’s 1939 Tête de femme sold for more than $1.3 million, in the middle of its pre-sale estimate, as did Quebec artist Jean Paul Riopelle’s commanding, large-scale Le reveil, which fetched about $1.2 million.
Abstract Expressionist painter Joan Mitchell’s oil-on-canvas triptych, Untitled, sold for nearly $1.2 million, well above its estimate price of between $400,000 and $600,000.
Toronto artist Yvonne McKague Housser’s Town of Cobalt sold for $205,250 — four times its top estimated sale price.
Five works by Group of Seven member Lawren Harris were also sold, two for well above their estimates. His North East Corner of Lake Superior (Lake Superior Sketch XXXVIII) fetched $481,250 and the abstraction LSH 89A went for $277,250.
One of the five works had been stowed away in the late Canadian painter’s possessions for decades, but was uncovered by relatives earlier this year.
According to Heffel, the auction overall totalled $15.3 million.