May 27, 2014

Auction season is upon us – Live and on-line. I attended the Spring Canadian Art at Waddington’s in Toronto on the first hot and steamy night of the year. Some surprises and some standard fare were witnessed. A Lawren Harris Arctic painting settled at 2.1M instead of reaching between the estimated 2.5-3.5M. But the rather awkward but unique Harris ‘Street Scene’ hammered home at $975,000 twice its estimate. I sensed a group of buyers that were savvy and particular, focusing on works with a personal resonance, rare or unusual, who did not bully easily. Emily Carr’s work on paper forest scene with brighter blues than is normally seen in her works sold for $400,000, confirming a loyalty to Carr’s oeuvre. It was nice to see a lovely painting by Thomas McLean open the auction and sell for twice the estimated values at $16,000. I believe this work was a solid buy.

On my travels I paid a visit to my beloved Tom Thomson Art Gallery in Owen Sound. It was a pleasure to view an exhibition of recent acquisitions, from 2010. Some of these works were acquired under my time there as Collections Manager and now under David Huff. In 2013, I was given the assignment of appraising the momentous, ‘Abitibi Fur Brigade’ by Arthur Heming. It has now found a permanent home at The Tom. Below, David and I pose with this extraordinary chronicle of Canadian history.

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In April I attended a Decorative Arts Symposium, ’Around 1914’ presented by the ROM. A well attended event featuring internationally renowned speakers covering topics including Architecture and Design before WW1, Arts and Crafts in the U.K., Charles Rennie MacKintosh’s Architecture, The rise and fall of Tiffany Studios, Art Nouveau, Modernism in Vienna and Peter Behrens. I am please to be able to take part in these events and proud to have them hosted in Toronto.

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