Lawren Harris' Mountain Forms (1926) sells for record $8.2m

Mountain Forms (1926), a work by Canadian artist Lawren Harris (1885-1970), sold for US$8.2m at Heffel Fine Art Auction House in Toronto on November 23.

Harris was a founding member of the Group of Seven, Canada's most revered painting school.

Lawren Harris Heffel
Lawren Harris was a founding member of Canada's Group of Seven

In his soaring landscapes he applies modernist principles of form and abstraction to Canada's stark and hostile topography.  

In recent years his work has come to greater prominence outside of Canada, in part thanks to the comedian and actor Steve Martin - who has championed Harris since he discovered his work in the 1990s.

Mountain Forms more than doubled its $3.7m estimate and soared past the previous record for a piece of Canadian art, set at $3.7m for Paul Kane's Scene in the Northwest in 2002.

It also smashed Harris' previous auction record, which stood at $2.8m.  

Auction house president David Heffel, explained to CTV News what this means for the future of the Canadian art market: "I think we've burst through the 42nd parallel.

"It really has propelled Canadian art to a new international level.

"We're really at the forefront now. It's a whole new frontier for the international acceptance of our visual artists who are world class and can compete at a multinational level."

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