Quebec art from million-dollar Montreal estates leads Heffel's May 2011 Auction

Fine art auction estimated at $8 to $12 million includes rare opportunity to own works by some of Quebec's most acclaimed artists

MONTREAL, April 19 /CNW/ - Canada's Heffel Fine Art Auction House's spring sale on May 17 in Vancouver features many of Quebec's beloved artists, with masterpieces from Jean-Paul Riopelle, Paul-Émile Borduas and Jean Paul Lemieux. The art auction includes pieces from the multi-million-dollar estates of Montreal's Edgar and Dorothy Davidson, collector Theodosia Dawes Bond Thornton, as well as the estate of Andrée Lavigne-Trudeau, Pierre Elliott Trudeau's sister-in-law.

"Currently, the work of Quebec artists from the 1950s and 1960s is highly sought after and this is where we are seeing real growth in the market," said David Heffel, President of Heffel Fine Art Auction House. "We are very excited about the Davidson collection, which contains leading pieces of Quebec art history never before seen at auction, such as Jean Paul Lemieux's Dimanche, which is estimated at $400,000 - $600,000 CAD and Les Moniales, which is estimated at the same value."

The spring sale will consist of 168 works by Canada's greatest artists and is conservatively estimated to generate $8 to $12 million CAD in May during the live auction, which will include two sessions, Canadian Post-War & Contemporary Art and Fine Canadian Art. Heffel is Canada's only auction house to produce two catalogues for historical and contemporary Canadian art.

"Opportunities to own works by Quebec's significant artists are rare. Our May auction provides such an opportunity to own first-rate works by many of Quebec's best-loved artists including Jean-Paul Riopelle, Paul-Émile Borduas and Jean Paul Lemieux," said Tania Poggione, Director of Heffel's Montreal office.

Other remarkable works will include Quebec's Rodolphe de Repentigny (Jauran), Marcelle Ferron, Rita Letendre, Alfred Pellan, Ulysse Comtois, Samuel Borenstein, Jean-Philippe Dallaire and John Little. A preview of the works will be taking place in Montreal from April 28 to April 30 at Galerie Heffel Montreal.

Spring 2011 Highlights

Edgar and Dorothy Davidson Estate

Edgar Davidson was mostly recognized for his teaching and his unprecedented contribution to the Protestant School Board of Greater Montreal. His wife Dorothy was an accomplished scholar and musician, and was the first woman to be elected to the Board of Governors of the Mechanics Institute of Montreal.

The Davidsons were bold collectors, choosing works that they felt were the best expressions of Canadian ideals, issues, politics and life, works in which they saw enduring value and above all, the finest of quality. They chose works by cutting-edge Canadian modernist artists of their time, with a keen interest in the art of their home province of Quebec, often buying a work shortly after it was created.

From an initial outlay of about $30,000, their art collection is now valued in the millions. Heffel will auction 34 lots from the Davidson estate, which is expected to reach a combined total of $2.5 - 3.5 million CAD.

The husband and wife team's purchases in the 1960s included Jean Paul Lemieux's Dimanche (1966), and Les Moniales (1964), both of which Edgar Davidson was extremely proud. Each piece is estimated at $400,000 - $600,000 CAD.

Two works from 1955 - Paul-Émile Borduas's Chant d'été (est. $250,000 - $350,000) and Jean-Paul Riopelle's Sans titre (est. $80,000 - $120,000 CAD) - were both purchased by the Davidsons in 1963. Two abstracts by Rita Letendre and works by Henriette Fauteux-Massé and Marcelle Ferron demonstrate the Davidson's penchant for Quebec art, along with Jean McEwen's Icône (1963), with an estimate of $7,000 - $9,000 CAD.

Riopelle is strongly represented with five works in this spring's sale, and the stunning large scale Sans titre is estimated to fetch between $900,000 - $1.2 million CAD (from a private Ontario collection). Riopelle currently holds the record for the highest price for a post-war work of art sold in Canada at $1,667,500, set when Heffel's sold Il était une fois une ville in 2006.

The Davidsons' interests included other well-known Canadian artists whose works will be up for sale. Their first purchase was Emily Carr's Trees in the Wind Circle (1938), bought in Ottawa in 1946, which has an estimated value of $125,000 - $175,000 CAD. This was the beginning of a lifetime of collecting for the pair, which also included A.Y. Jackson's lyrical Smart River, Alaska Highway (est. $125,000 - $175,000 CAD) which was Dorothy's favourite.  Other fine works in their collection include Lawren Harris's North Shore, Lake Superior, Pic Island II and his bold, late abstractions from Santa Fe and Vancouver.

Theodosia Dawes Bond Thornton Estate

Important works from the estate of Montreal collector Theodosia Dawes Bond Thornton continue to amaze collectors. This will be Heffel's third sale from the Thornton estate. One of the paintings by Lawren Harris, Lake Superior Near Coldwell, (est. $70,000 - 90,000 CAD) is an example of his fascination with the landscape of Canada. Two additional works, Mountains, Jasper (1924) (est. $100,000 - 150,000 CAD) and the lush Newfoundland Sketch (1921) (est. $40,000 - 60,000 CAD) both come from Harris's Group of Seven period.

Andrée Lavigne-Trudeau Estate

The Andrée Lavigne-Trudeau estate includes The Sound, a work by Quebec modernist Charles Gagnon. It is estimated at $40,000 - 60,000 CAD. Jean-Paul Mousseau's fibreglass and coloured resin light fixture, entitled Suspended Lamp (est. $8,000 - $10,000 CAD) combines the utilitarian and the aesthetic, capturing a very 1960s Montreal cultural moment in time.

Heffel's Spring 2011 Auction Schedule

For details on the previews and live auction, and access to the online catalogues, visit

  • Montreal Preview - April 28 to April 30 at Galerie Heffel Montreal, 1840 Sherbrooke Street West
  • Toronto Preview - May 5 to May 7 at Heffel Gallery Toronto, 13 Hazelton Avenue
  • Vancouver Preview - May 13 to May 17 at Heffel Gallery Vancouver, 2247 Granville Street
  • Vancouver Live Auction - Tuesday, May 17, 2011 at Vancouver Convention Centre West, 1055 Canada Place
    • 4:00pm PDT, Canadian Post-War & Contemporary Art
    • 7:00pm PDT, Fine Canadian Art

About Heffel Fine Art Auction House
Founded in Vancouver, BC, Heffel Fine Art Auction House has conducted all 10 of the most valuable live auctions of Canadian art. The auction house is led by an experienced team of fine art specialists and has national presence with offices in Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, and Calgary.  As the industry leader, Heffel holds over 60 percent market share of worldwide Canadian art auction sales, with over $260 million in art auction sales since 1995. Heffel publishes its entire live auction online at, from initial promotion and illustrated lot listings to the auction's live multi-camera web cast and final sale results. 

SOURCE Heffel Fine Art Auction House

For further information:

or images, please contact:

Anik Le Marquand
NATIONAL Public Relations
        Tania Poggione
Director of Heffel's Montreal office



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