British Columbia

3 Lawren Harris paintings exceed presale estimates at Heffel spring auction

The Heffel Fine Art Auction House says Harris's canvas Laurentian Landscape sold for $2.2 million — it was expected to fetch between $1.2 million and $1.6 million.

One of Harris's paintings sold for $4.6-million at Heffel's fall auction in Toronto

Laurentian Landscape, a painting by Lawren Harris, exceeded its $1.6 million estimate by more than a half-million dollars at the Heffel spring auction. (Handout Heffel Fine Art Auction/Canadian Press)

A trio of paintings by Group of Seven member Lawren Harris were sold at an auction in Vancouver on Wednesday night.

The Heffel Fine Art Auction House says Harris's canvas Laurentian Landscape sold for $2.2 million — it was expected to fetch between $1.2 million and $1.6 million.

Heffel said the painting is considered to be "a foundation work for the establishment of the Group of Seven."

"We're ecstatic, not only with the results of the auction, but with the strong attendance at our previews," said Robert Heffel, vice president of Heffel Fine Art Auction House, in a written statement. 

"Sharing this group of historically important works with the public is as exciting for us as seeing the pieces find their rightful homes."

Oil-on-board works Coldwell, Lake Superior and Mount Sampson, Maligne Lake rounded out the trio of Harris paintings for sale.

Three of the late landscape artist's creations broke the million-dollar mark at Heffel's fall auction in Toronto, led by the record-breaking $4.6-million sale of Mountain and Glacier.

Coldwell, Lake Superior was one of three Lawren Harris paintings available at the Heffel spring auction. (The Canadian Press/Handout Heffel Fine Art Auction)

Works by all original members of the Group of Seven were also on the auction block at the spring Heffel sale, including A.Y. Jackson's snow scene Farm at St. Tite des Caps, an oil-on-canvas work. It sold for $354,000.

Five works by Emily Carr, including the oil-on-canvas Shoreline and rare watercolour Gitwangak, were available. They sold for $708,000 and $413,000, respectively — also well above their presale estimates.

A "historically significant" 1949 post-war canvas by official Canada war artist E.J. Hughes was also on the auction block and set an artist record at $1.593,000, far exceeding its presale estimate of up to $800,000. 

The Post Office at Courtenay, B.C., a painting by Edward Hughes, is considered to be a 'historically significant' post-war canvas. (The Canadian Press/Handout Heffel Fine Art Auction)

Hughes relied on supplies left over from his Second World War service to paint The Post Office at Courtenay, B.C. — a work he created over the course of three years.

A pair of works by the late Alex Colville were also sold: Racer from the celebrated artist's prolific mid-'50s period, and Swimming Dog and Canoe. Heffel said the latter sold for $1,180,000 — its presale estimate was between $300,000 and $500,000. 

Swimming Dog and Canoe by Alex Colville, will also be available at the Heffel spring auction. (The Canadian Press/Handout Heffel Fine Art Auction)

The spring auction also featured Jean Paul Riopelle's 1955 Composition, which was exhibited at the National Gallery of Canada.

The two-session live auction took place at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

With files from CBC News

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