Group of Seven founder, Lawren Harris leads Heffel auction with pivotal masterpiece

  • The highly anticipated early Lawren Harris canvas, Laurentian Landscape smashed presale estimates and sold for more than $2M
  • E.J. Hughes saw a new artist record of $1.59M with the sale of the rare post-war masterpiece, The Post Office at Courtenay, BC
  • Alex Colville's exemplary Swimming Dog and Canoe broke the million dollar mark and sold above its estimate for $1.18M
  • A total of 144 lots were offered in the spring auction and achieved outstanding sales of $17.2M, exceeding presale estimates of $9M to $12M


VANCOUVER, May 25, 2016 /CNW/ - At its semi-annual live auction held today in Vancouver, Heffel Fine Art Auction House saw strong competition for museum-quality works on offer, resulting in notable sales and a boost for Canada's art market. Indicative of unremitting collector demand for impressive works of art, the auction totaled $17.2 million, over and above presale estimates of $9 million to $12 million (all prices are in Canadian dollars and include an 18 per cent buyer's premium).

"We're ecstatic, not only with the results of the auction, but with the strong attendance at our previews," said Robert Heffel, Vice President of Heffel Fine Art Auction House. "Sharing this group of historically important works with the public is as exciting for us as seeing the pieces find their rightful homes."

Interest and appreciation are unsurpassed for works by Lawren Harris, a founding member of Canada's greatest national art movement, the Group of Seven. Three important Harris paintings sold in the spring auction, led by the historic Laurentian Landscape for $2,183,000. The 1913-1914 canvas is known as a pivotal piece from the artist's extensive career and a cornerstone for the establishment of the Group of Seven. Global recognition for Harris centres not only around his works on display in an international traveling exhibition co-curated by Steve Martin, but also on the $4.6 million record-shattering sale of Mountain and Glacier at the Heffel fall 2015 live auction. Inclusive of today's sale, Heffel has sold works by Lawren Harris totaling more than $67 million.

Another blockbuster in the spring sale was The Post Office at Courtenay, BC, an exceedingly rare canvas by West Coast landscape painter E.J. Hughes. The rich history of the painting and extensive bidder participation helped the work set an artist record at $1,593,000. Six works by Hughes in the auction totaled an impressive $2.14 million.

Noteworthy sales from Heffel's spring live auction:

  • Lawren Harris's highly anticipated Laurentian Landscape, a work that defined a unique Canadian style and helped to launch the Group of Seven, was the leading lot in the spring auction. The groundbreaking canvas sold for $2,183,000 (est. $1,200,000 - 1,600,000).
  • Spirited bidding sparked a new record for E.J. Hughes, official war artist. The remarkable 1949 post-war canvas The Post Office at Courtenay, BC outperformed its presale estimate and sold for $1,593,000 (est. $600,000 - 800,000).
  • Two exemplary works by Alex Colville produced significant results in today's sale. The incredibly detailed and personal work, Swimming Dog and Canoe far surpassed its presale estimate of $300,000 to $500,000 and sold for $1,180,000 and the 1950s portrait Racer sold for $560,500 (est. $500,000 - 600,000).
  • Post-war and contemporary works by important Quebec artists saw enthusiastic bidding. Guido Molinari's commanding large-scale work Sans titre shattered the artist record and sold for $354,000 (est. $100,000 - 150,000) while the celebrated 1955 canvas, Composition by Jean Paul Riopelle brought in $649,000 (est. $400,000 - 600,000).
  • Two Lawren Harris oil on board sketches from the Group of Seven period outshined their estimates at the auction. Coldwell, Lake Superior, Lake Superior Sketch XXII sold for $649,000 (est. $450,000 - 550,000) and Mount Sampson, Maligne Lake for $413,000 (est. $250,000 - 300,000).
  • The sale included notable works by all original members of the Group of Seven. Farm at St. Tite des Caps, a quintessential snow scene canvas by A.Y. Jackson, achieved $354,000 (est. $300,000 - 500,000).
  • Costapoglia II, the 1963 dreamlike canvas by leader in contemporary Indian art, Sayed Haider Raza, sold for a strong price of $383,500 (est. $200,000 - 300,000).
  • A total of six artist records were broken in the spring auction, including impressive sales for important West Coast artists. W.P. Weston's Mt. Klitsa doubled its estimate and sold for $236,000 (est. $90,000 - 120,000) and Takao Tanabe's Goletas Channel 1/86 sold for $88,500 (est. $30,000 - 40,000).
  • Mature-period Emily Carr canvases are among Canada's rarest treasures. The sea and sky painting Shoreline sold for $708,000 (est. $600,000 - 800,000) and the artist's extraordinary watercolour Gitwangak reached $413,000 (est. $200,000 - 300,000).
  • La vieille église de Sherbrooke Est par temps de neige by Marc-Aurèle de Foy Suzor-Coté, an inspiring work consigned by the Saint-Jean-Baptiste Church in Sherbrooke, sold for $383,500. Proceeds from the sale will aid in fundraising for the restoration and renovation of the church (est. $100,000 - 150,000).

Significant consignments and monumental sales over the last year validate the strength of the Canadian art market, with Heffel at the forefront. International interest in many of Canada's most treasured artists contributed greatly to the successful spring auction. Heffel is currently accepting consignments for the fall 2016 live auction in Toronto. The deadline for fall consignments is August 15, 2016.

For full results and more information on the works in the spring auction, please visit

About Heffel
Heffel has sold more Canadian art than any other auctioneer worldwide, approaching half a billion dollars in art sales since 1978. With offices in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Ottawa and Calgary, Heffel has the most experienced team of fine art specialists in Canada and provides superior client service to both sellers and buyers internationally.

SOURCE Heffel Gallery Limited

Image with caption: "The highly anticipated Lawren Harris canvas, Laurentian Landscape smashed presale estimates and sold for $2,183,000 (Estimate: $1,200,000 - 1,600,000) (CNW Group/Heffel Gallery Limited)". Image available at:

Image with caption: "E.J. Hughes saw a new artist record of $1,593,000 with the sale of the rare post-war masterpiece, The Post Office at Courtenay, BC (Estimate: $600,000 - 800,000) (CNW Group/Heffel Gallery Limited)". Image available at:

For further information: For additional information, to schedule an interview or media viewing, or for high-resolution images, please contact: Rebecca Rykiss, Director of Public Relations, Heffel Fine Art Auction House, 416-961-6505 / 647-338-6707,


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