A rare early work by Tom Thomson and a previously unknown work by Paul-Émile Borduas were among the paintings auctioned Monday evening at Joyner Waddington’s in Toronto, both far surpassing their pre-sale estimates.
The fall auction of Canadian art also included works by the Group of Seven and by contemporary artists such as William Kurelek.
Thomson’s River Scene, a tiny 1906 landscape painted on glass while he was a student at the Central Ontario School of Art and Industrial Design in Toronto, sold for $42,480, almost tripling its pre-sale estimate.
River Scene is "incredibly interesting because it is the only known work on glass by the artist," Joyner vice-president Rob Cowley told CBC News before the auction.
The 1957 Borduas canvas Chatterie sold for $660,800, far surpassing pre-sale estimates of between $150,000-200,000. It had been unknown for more than 50 years as its dealer lost track of where it was sold.
One of three abstracts he painted in 1957, one of which is in the collection of the Art Gallery of Ontario, Chatterie was expected to draw interest because it has been out of the public eye for so long in a private collection.
After some feverish bidding both on the telephone and in the auction room, it missed setting an auction record for Borduas by less than $3,000.
Chatterie highlighted the Post-War and Contemporary Canadian offerings in the auction.
"It is a Canadian art treasure that displays the immense skill of one of our country's most celebrated painters," said Joyner senior art specialist Lydia Abbott.
A canvas by Painter's Eleven member William Ronald entitled Memories New York, 1959, sold for $59,000 during the evening sale.
The large canvas, splattered and dripped with paint, reveals Ronald's dialogue with Jackson Pollock's artworks which he encountered while living in New York City.
A William Kurelek painting entitled Yukon Trappers' Stop depicting a Yukon trapper treading through deep snow fetched $82,600, surpassing its pre-sale estimates of up to $80,000.
A 1920s oil painting by Quebec artist Marc-Aurele Fortin depicting Maison Tessier in the Saguenay region of Quebec fetched a final price of $76,700, more than double its estimate.
Other highlights included a rare large format 1889 oil painting by Frederick Arthur Verner entitled Indians Paddling West Coast Canoes which sold for $70,800.
Three small oil on panel artworks by Clarence Gagnon depicting Quebec villages in winter and dating to the 1920s surpassed pre-sale estimates with each selling for over $30,000.
An online bidding session of Canadian Art will continue until Nov. 29 at 2 p.m. ET.