The commanding large-scale canvas Mountain Forms by iconic artist and Group of Seven founder Lawren Harris — a mountain scene from his coveted 1920s creative period — sold for a record $9.5 million at the Heffel Fine Art Auction House in Toronto in Nov. 2016.
Tapped with a conservative presale estimate of $3 million to $5 million, the painting ultimately sold for much more, making it the most expensive Canadian artwork ever sold at auction, knocking off longtime record-holder Paul Kane's Scene in the Northwest. Including the buyer's sales premium, the painting sold for $11.21 million.
Here are the top five most valuable Canadian artworks ever sold at auction.
1. Lawren Harris, Mountain Forms
Sold in 2016 for $11,210,000 (all prices including sales premium)
2. Jean Paul Riopelle, Vent du nord
Sold in 2017 for $7,438,750
Jean Paul Riopelle's abstract work Vent du nord headed into Heffel's spring 2017 auction with a conservative pre-sale estimate of $1 million to $1.5 million. (Heffel Auction/The Canadian Press)
3. Paul Kane, Scene in the Northwest – Portrait of John Henry Lefroy
Sold in 2002 for $5,062,000
Art lover and media baron Ken Thomson bought Scene in the Northwest at a Sotheby's Canada sale in 2002, eventually donating it to the Art Gallery of Ontario. (Courtesy: The Thomson Collection/Art Gallery of Ontario)
4. Lawren Harris, Mountain and Glacier
Sold in 2015 for $4,602,000
Heffel set a new record for a Harris work with Mountain and Glacier that was sold at an auction in Nov. 2015. (Heffel Fine Art Auction House)
5. Jeff Wall, Dead Troops Talk (A Vision After an Ambush of a Red Army patrol, near Moqor, Afghanistan, Winter 1986)
Sold in 2012 for $3,666,400
Jeff Wall's colossal photograph Dead Troops Talk was a record-setter at Christie's in New York in 2012: highest price ever paid at auction for a Canadian photograph. (Christie's)