A Lawren Harris work painted as cover art for Harper’s magazine in 1911 sold for $519,200, including buyer’s premium, at the Joyner Fall Auction of Canadian art on Friday.

The Return from Town shows a group of cheery lumberjacks returning to their camp on a snowy night, undeterred by the dark forest around them.

The $519,200 sale price was at the low-end of the pre-auction estimate of $500,000 to $700,000. It is believed to be one of the earliest Harris canvases ever offered at auction.

William Kurelek’s Handel’s Messiah at Massey Hall, which shows the Mendelssohn Choir performing at the Toronto concert hall, sold for $94,000, above the pre-sale estimate of $60,000 to $80,000. Two smaller Kureleks, both snow scenes, sold for $40,120 and $28,320.

Other significant works:

  • Lilt of Songs by Painters Eleven member Jock MacDonald, $59,000.
  • Eastern Townships by Prudence Heward, $49,560, five times its pre-sale estimate.

Joyner also sold two small ink drawings by Canadian medical scientist Frederick Banting, known for his role in the discovery of insulin. They sold for $5,900 and $6,490, double their pre-sale estimates.

The 1963 landscape Above Revelstoke B.C. by E.J. Hughes, which had a pre-sale estimate of $200,000 to $250,000,  failed to sell.


Lilt of Songs by Painters Eleven member Jock MacDonald sold for $59,000. Joyner