Canada's Art Leader Shines a Light on the Country's Greatest Masterworks: Heffel Presents its Fall 2013 Auction

With highlights including a spectacular collection of works by Emily Carr and a noteworthy representation of historical First Nations content, the Fall Auction is expected to reach between $8 and $10 million

  • The fall live auction will feature 138 lots and is expected to achieve between $8M and $10M (by conservative estimates)
  • Among the highlights: eight works by Emily Carr together estimated at $2,050,000 - $2,760,000, two works by Tom Thomson together estimated at $800,000 - $1.2M and six works by Jean-Paul Riopelle with a combined estimate of $1,270,000 - $1,840,000
  • Previews to be held in Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto, in advance of the live auction in Toronto on November 28

TORONTO, Oct. 30, 2013 /CNW/ - Heffel Fine Art Auction House will once again celebrate the richness and breadth of Canada's artistic talent on Thursday, November 28 with the presentation of its Fall 2013 collection, at a live auction in Toronto. As the leader of Canadian art at auction, Heffel will showcase an array of museum quality pieces representative of Canada's artistic treasures from coast to coast.

"Many important works being offered in our all Auction have not been for sale and have been hidden from the public's view for many generations.  Heffel has worked very hard to present a stunning selection of works in our fall sale.  Our team worked for nearly 10 years with the Vancouver Club to achieve the honour of featuring Emily Carr's The Crazy Stair (The Crooked Staircase) on the cover of our auction catalogue."

Having sold over a quarter of a billion dollars in Canadian art, Heffel is truly Canada's National Auction House. As the first auction house in Canada to split historical and contemporary Canadian art into separate sales, it remains the only house to produce separate detailed catalogues for each session; Canadian Post-War & Contemporary Art and Fine Canadian Art.

Heffel's Post-War & Contemporary Art highlights include: 

  • A favourite with art enthusiasts each season, the Fall Auction features six works by Jean-Paul Riopelle. His major 1954 piece, Sans titre, is a masterwork from his prime mosaic period (est. $500,000 - 700,000).  Another commanding work is Iceberg IV which, at 78 3/4" x 110 1/4", is the largest piece in the fall collection. As is characteristic of Riopelle's work, this painting demands attention and admiration (estimate available upon request).
  • Jack Bush has enjoyed success and acclaim internationally throughout his career. This year, the trend continues with four of his canvases shattering records at auction and an important upcoming show scheduled at the National Gallery of Canada. Off Green, included in the Fall Auction, is from the collection of Dr. Charles Best, whose father, with the same name, was the co-discoverer of insulin. Dr. Best purchased the piece from the David Mirvish Gallery in 1972 (est. $100,000 - $150,000).
  • The works of Montreal's Jean Paul Lemieux feature prominently once again in this auction with L'évêque en noir (est. $350,000 - $450,000). To date, Heffel has sold a total of 135 of the artist's works. Nineteen Ten Remembered, a 1962 oil on canvas piece by Lemieux, is among Heffel's Top Ten Artists' Records, selling for a remarkable $2,340,000 in 2011.
  • Oscar Cahén was a member of the Painters Eleven, and his painting Growth comes with a compelling backstory. The original owner of this painting acquired it as payment from the artist for a bet lost during a regular poker game between colleagues in the advertising field. Short on funds, Cahén, a graphic designer by trade, offered the painting as payment in lieu of cash. The work has remained in his family's collection, now in the possession of his sons (est. $25,000 - $35,000).
  • Additional highlights of the Post-War & Contemporary Art collection include a 1954 E.J. Hughes painting, titled Storage Tanks at Bones Bay, Cracroft Island. This is an important work from Hughes's 1953 journey along the coast of British Columbia on the Imperial Nanaimo (est. $175,000 -225,000).
  • Also on offer are six works by William Kurelek, depicting his life on the prairies, as well as a 1960s period Rita Letendre, Mandragore, which beautifully captures her approach to abstraction and lush expressionism (estimate $40,000 - $60,000).

Heffel's Fine Canadian Art highlights include:

  • The eight works in this year's auction by Emily Carr are led by The Crazy Stair (The Crooked Staircase), which is estimated at $1,200,000 - $1,600,000. This large format painting from Carr's mature period is indicative of the artist's lifelong engagement with First Nations culture. Long known as "The Crooked Staircase," it was not until the back of the canvas was exposed during recent conservation that an inscription was revealed, reading "The Crazy Stair," illustrating that this was likely Carr's handwritten indication of the original title. A rare few of such Carr canvases exist in private hands today. The Crazy Stair (The Crooked Staircase), now property of the Vancouver Club, was sold prior to the creation of the Emily Carr Trust, keeping it outside of museum walls. To date, Heffel has sold 214 works by Emily Carr, totalling $46,618,519.
  • A delight for collectors, two Tom Thomson pieces will be presented in the auction. Of these pieces, Canoe Lake is of particular note, as it was given to the owner, Fred Martin, by Thomson himself after the two met and became friends during visits to Algonquin Park in 1915. Canoe Lake was one of Thomson's favourite subjects and his enthusiasm for the area has produced one of the most charming artifacts in Canadian art (est. $400,000 - $600,000).
  • Frederick Alexcee's Pole Raising at Fort Simpson, B.C. is a rare and important work depicting the raising of the totem - capturing a momentous occasion in Canada's history and a tradition of First Nations' culture that has since disappeared (est. $30,000 - $50,000). A noteworthy piece of First Nations' history, a reproduction of this painting will appear in the second edition of the college text Native North American Art, to be published by the Oxford University Press in 2014.
  • In fall of 2015, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts will hold an exhibition of Beaver Hall artists, including two artists featured in this Fall Auction, Mabel May and Kathleen Morris. May is represented in the auction by the exquisite canvas Happy Valley, on the Road Near Ottawa, and Kathleen Morris by a fine market scene, Marché Saint-Roch, Quebec.
  • A rare treat in this auction is French River by Sir Frederick Banting. Best known as the scientist who co-discovered insulin, Banting found solace in landscape painting in his free time. Like close friend and fellow painter A.Y. Jackson, Banting's work consummately depicted the beauty of Canada (est. $40,000 - $60,000).
  • Alongside Thomson, Group of Seven members are featured prominently in the Fall 2013 Auction, which includes works by Lawren Harris, J.E.H. MacDonald, Arthur Lismer, Frederick Varley, Franklin Carmichael and A.Y. Jackson.

Heffel's Fall 2013 Live Auction Schedule

To give interested buyers from across Canada a chance to view these extraordinary works, the collection is being previewed in three cities in the lead-up to the live auction:

  • Vancouver: Saturday, November 2 to Tuesday, November 5 at Heffel Gallery Vancouver, 2247 Granville Street
  • Montreal: Thursday, November 14 to Saturday, November 16 at Galerie Heffel Montreal, 1840 Sherbrooke Street West
  • Toronto: Saturday, November 23 to Thursday, November 28 at The University of Toronto Art Centre (UTAC), 15 King's College Circle

The two-part live auction will take place in Toronto on November 28 at the Park Hyatt Hotel (4 Avenue Road):

  • 4:00 p.m., Canadian Post-War & Contemporary Art
  • 7:00 p.m., Fine Canadian Art

Heffel is also offering:

Art Lecture at University College, Room 140 (adjacent to UTAC), Toronto

  • Speakers: Dr. Gerta Moray, Dr. Sarah Stanners and Lisa Christensen
  • Sunday, November 24 from 2:00 - 3:00 p.m.

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

About Heffel Fine Art Auction House 

Canadian-owned and a family run business, Heffel has sold more Canadian art than any other auctioneer worldwide, with over $325 million in art auction sales since 1995, and has conducted the most valuable live auctions of Canadian art. 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, from initial promotion and illustrated lot listings, to the auction's live multi-camera webcast and final sale results.

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*All estimates are in Canadian Dollars and include buyer's premium

SOURCE: Heffel Fine Art Auction House

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Media contact:
For more information, to schedule an interview or media viewing, or for high-resolution images, please contact:

Rebecca Rykiss
NATIONAL Public Relations

David Heffel / Robert Heffel

Heffel Fine Art Auction House
604-418-6505 / 604-418-0100 /

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