Toronto

Paul Kane's painting fetches record-setting price

Canada's art world is abuzz Tuesday over the record-setting price paid for a Canadian painting.

Canada's art world is abuzz Tuesday over the record-setting price paid for a Canadian painting.

At a Sotheby's auction Monday night in Toronto, Paul Kane's mid-19th Century painting Scene in the Northwest - Portrait sold for $4.6 million – more than $5 million once the buyer's premium is factored in.

The painting features Sir John Henry Lefroy, a British explorer. It was painted in 1845-46, to commemorate Lefroy's quest for the Magnetic North Pole.

There was fear the painting might go to a foreign buyer and be taken out of the country. But it was purchased by an unidentified Canadian buyer.

That unidentified buyer is widely believed to be Canadian millionaire art collector Ken Thomson, but Thomson is not commenting.

The painting was "lost" in the mid-1850s. It turns out, it's been hanging in the homes of Lefroy's relatives in Britain.

Sotheby's executive vice president Hugh Hildesley conducted the auction. He was overjoyed at the outcome and admits he had hoped the piece would sell to a Canadian.

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