Sotheby’s auction of Canadian art produced a sale total of $3.55 million Thursday night in Toronto, with record prices for several Canadian artists, including Paul-Émile Borduas, whose Froissement Multicolore sold for $663,750.
Borduas’s large and colourful work had a pre-sale estimate of $350,000 to $500,000, and surpassed the previous auction record for the artist by $150,000.
Auction records were also set for Jack Bush, Robert Todd, Fritz Brandtner, Barbara Astman and Douglas Coupland.
“Sotheby’s sale of Canadian artworks once again proved collectors’ appetite for exceptional quality in the current market,” said Sotheby’s Canada president David Silcox.
“We are proud to have set new records for prices achieved at auction for several of Canada’s most influential and beloved artists.”
Bush’s 1971 abstract canvas Glide earned a record $267,000, more than doubling its presale high estimate of $120,000.
Todd’s landscape of Montmorency Falls in Quebec set a record for the artist, earning $439,500.
Other notable sales included:
- David Milne’s Boston Corners Landscape, for $244,000.
- Fritz Brandtner’s Interior, for $71,500.
- William Ronald’s Back Thru Spring, for $100,250.
- Kazuo Nakamura’s Reflections, for $77,250
- Harold Town’s Stretch #1, for $42,000.
- Barbara Anne Astman's colour print Untitled, From the Red Series, for $24,000.
One of the evening's highlights, Mountain Sketch XCI by Group of Seven artist Lawren Harris, failed to sell. The mountainscape carried a pre-sale estimate of up to $600,000, but did not find a buyer.
"Naturally, we're disappointed the Harris didn't find a new home tonight," Sotheby's Canada vice-president Linda Rodeck said in a statement.
When a sale estimate is in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, "the pool of capable bidders narrows so it's always a little harder to place paintings this valuable," she added.
"I'm confident that Sotheby's will be approached in the coming days with private offers to purchase it."
The Canadian spring auction season continues with the Joyner sale in Toronto on Friday.