Jessica Wong’s CBC News article highlights the growing popularity of Canadian art on international markets, like the Lawren Harris’s 1926 painting Mountain Forms set to be auctioned off tonight. Sadly, this does not seem to be one of the canvases I photographed in September at the AGO.
The thing about Canadian art is that Canadians have largely kept it to themselves — so says British art historian Ian Dejardin.
But there’s definite potential for worldwide appreciation of Canadian art, and tonight could mark one instance where the cat’s out of the bag.
The commanding large-scale canvas Mountain Forms by iconic artist and Group of Seven founder Lawren Harris — a vibrant Rockies scene from his coveted 1920s creative period — hits the block with Heffel Fine Art Auction House in Toronto. The work depicts Mount Ishbel, which is in Alberta’s Sawback Range in Banff National Park, east of Johnston Canyon.
Tapped with a conservative presale estimate of $3 million to $5 million, the painting is expected to sell for more.
If it crosses the upper threshold of the estimate, it would likely become the most expensive Canadian artwork ever sold at auction, knocking off longtime record-holder Paul Kane’s Scene in the Northwest. Harris works already take up three spots among the top five most valuable Canadian artworks ever sold at auction.
The audience for Canadian art is out there, says Dejardin, pointing to his own experience at London’s Dulwich Picture Gallery, mounting critically acclaimed exhibitions on Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven as well as Emily Carr — shows that introduced Canadians to many new admirers, inspired lengthy queues, drew raves from attendees and also moved on to other European galleries.