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Steve Martin to auction Lawren Harris mountain artwork

A painting by Lawren Harris will hit the Toronto auction block this fall after being consigned by a famous fan of the Group of Seven artist's work — comic legend Steve Martin.

Mountain Sketch LXX to sell at Nov. auction in Toronto

Steve Martin discusses the work of Canadian artist Lawren Harris, subject of his exhibition The Idea of North, at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles in 2015. Martin will auction one of his Harris paintings in Toronto in November. (Kim Brunhuber/CBC)

A painting by Lawren Harris will hit the Toronto auction block this fall after being consigned by a famous fan of the Group of Seven artist's work — comic legend Steve Martin.

The Heffel Fine Art Auction House says Harris' Mountain Sketch LXX could fetch between $300,000 and $500,000 at its sale next month.

Martin's Harris artwork Mountain Sketch LXX is estimated to sell for between $300,000 and $500,000. (Heffel Fine Art Auction House/Canadian Press)

The 1928 oil-on-board is one of several Harris works collected by Martin, who has helped raise the Canadian painter's international profile.

The American actor, comedian and musician donated a canvas by Harris to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston in 2017.

Martin also co-curated a 2015-2016 exhibition Harris' northern landscapes that made stops in Los Angeles, Boston and Toronto.

Martin told The Canadian Press in 2016 that the artist's work was a hit with U.S. audiences.

"Lawren Harris was virtually unknown in America — and now he's not. And the art lovers of America saw some of his finest work," Martin said in an interview at Toronto's Art Gallery of Ontario, which co-organized the exhibit alongside the Hammer Museum in L.A.

Martin said he first saw the artist's paintings in businessman and Harris collector Ken Thomson's Toronto storeroom, and was "so taken with them."

Martin, second right, has championed the work of Group of Seven co-founder Lawren Harris in the U.S. The actor and collector is seen at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles with former AGO Canadian art curator Andrew Hunter, from left, Hammer director Ann Philbin and Hammer curator Cynthia Burlingham. (Casey Curry/Invision/Associated Press)

In recent years, Harris' works have attracted blockbuster bids, with Mountain Forms smashing Canadian art records in 2016 by selling for over $11.2 million.

Visitors can see Mountain Sketch LXX in coming weeks as part of Heffel's fall preview in Calgary, Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto. A live auction will take place at Toronto's Design Exchange on Nov. 20.

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