The first of three Canadian art auctions to take place in Toronto this week fetched an impressive sale total of $3.1m (US), despite mixed results for the 300 lots.
The Joyner Canadian Fine Art sale on Monday (November 22) featured work by some of the country's most celebrated artists, and amongst the sales were two notable record-breakers.
A canvas by Randolph Stanley Hewton entitled 'Semi-Draped Nude in the Artist's Studio' dated from the early 1920s smashed its estimate of $39,300 - $59,000, fetching a price of $127,950 following less than 70 seconds of furious bidding. This price easily beat the previous record for his work of $87,350 set in 2007.
The other work to set a new record was 'Attacca' by Jack Bush, a large abstract canvas painted two years before his death in 1977. Bush, co-founder of the abstract artists collective 'Painters Eleven', had a previous sale record of $160,627 set in 2007. But 'Attacca' brushed past it, selling for $162,595 in under a minute and a half.
The biggest sale of the night, however, went to Orchestra Chairs, an 1892 oil on canvas by Paul Peel. With an estimated price of $393,700 - $492,000 it reached a sale price of $406,488, eventually selling to a UK-based collector.
With sales for 75% of the works on offer the auction can be seen as a tentative success, but eyes will be on the two subsequent auctions this week, by Sotheby's (later today, Tuesday 23) and Heffel (Thursday 25). Now could be the perfect time to invest in Canadian art, and with collectors still happy to break record prices for the right artists it could bring some excellent financial returns.
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