TORONTO, May 13, 2013 /CNW/ - Magnificent work by William Kurelek, the Group of Seven, Marcelle Ferron, E.J. Hughes and Painter's Eleven highlight a strongly-balanced sale of rarity, quality and variety within the Joyner Waddington's Spring Auction of Important Canadian Art, taking place on Monday, June 3rd at 7:00 pm in Toronto.
A vivid and haunting vision of Toronto's lower Yonge Street, William Kurelek's He Gloats Over Our Scepticism is well-known to collectors and followers of the Ukrainian-Canadian artist's work: The painting reproduced in volumes dedicated to his career, as well as having been included in important exhibitions of the Kurelek's work over the past forty years. A 1972 didactic (or "message") painting, Kurelek used such works as tools to inform and educate his audience to his strong Christian beliefs regarding society and his impression of the approaching end of times. Kurelek felt a sense of urgency connected to his didactic work, including such paintings alongside his "nostalgic" or "farm paintings" in his exhibitions, exposing the artworks and his message to a wide audience. Such is the case with He Gloats Over Our Scepticism - the painting was included Kurelek's The Toronto Series exhibition at Isaacs Gallery in 1972, one of six didactic works in the exhibition of twenty-one pieces. Each of the works in the show depicted a different district of the city, the artist wishing to capture the "soul" of Toronto, where he and his family called home. Also included in the monumental 2012 touring Kurelek exhibition The Messenger, He Gloats Over Our Scepticism is being offered at auction for the first time with Joyner this spring with a pre-sale estimate of $150,000 to $200,000.
"Through the past several Canadian art auction seasons we have been witnessed the continued increase in passionate interest for the work of William Kurelek, leading to an ever-evolving interest and recognition for this important Canadian artist's work," states Joyner Canadian Art Specialist and Chief Auctioneer Rob Cowley. "The continued excitement generated by Kurelek's unique and powerful work has led to an almost unparalleled period of strong performance for the painter's work, including repeated banner results at auction. It is our privilege to feature He Gloats Over Our Scepticism in our spring auction, a monumental work by an artist who continues to captivate collectors across Canada and beyond. We anticipate strong interest for this landmark painting, a striking example of William Kurelek's skills as a master painter and gifted storyteller."
Exceptional work by members of the Group of Seven highlight the historical offerings within the June 3rd auction, with remarkable and important works by Lawren Harris, Arthur Lismer and A.J. Casson featured. Two highly-charged Rockies sketches by Lawren Harris, Mt. Sampson, Maligne Lake, Mountain Sketch CVI (auction estimate $175,000-200,000) and Mountain On The Athabasca River, Mountain Sketch XCI ($325,000-375,000) demonstrate the artist's discovery and depiction of the power and majesty of the Western Canadian landscape. Featured on the cover of the spring auction catalogue, Arthur Lismer's The Pine Tree ($25,000-35,000) presents the painter's skill in capturing the savage beauty of Ontario's Georgian Bay region, a locale featured in many of the Lismer's most renowned works of art. One of multiple dazzling works by A.J. Casson included in the auction, Madawaska Valley, October ($100,000-150,000) provides clear evidence of the Group member's brilliance in translating the inspiration he gathered from the varied Ontario terrain, the June sale a veritable showcase of Casson's vibrant depictions of urban and rural settings in the province. Striking works by J.E.H. MacDonald, A.Y. Jackson, Frank Johnston and Frederick Varley round out the comprehensive collection of work by members of the famed artistic association in the Joyner auction.
Besides the Group of Seven offerings, the historical Canadian art selections includes extraordinary examples from many of the country's most recognized artists and groups, including: a pair of captivating still life canvases by David Milne (Bush Flowers: $40,000-60,000 and Still Life With Violets: $30,000-40,000); an enchanting double-sided canvas by Doris McCarthy (Children Tobogganing, Haliburton Village: $20,000-30,000); and a pair of fascinating works by J.W. Morrice (Landscape: $30,000-50,000 and Cushing's Island, Maine: $3,000-5,000), providing a view to the early career of the internationally trained and recognized artist. These works of art touch on the variety and breadth of fine examples of artwork representing the storied history of Canadian art during the nineteenth and early twentieth century.
Joyner's Spring Post-War and Contemporary offerings include a number of magnificent abstract paintings by some of Canada's most renowned painters. Sans Titre, 1961 ($70,000-90,000), a powerful oil painting by Marcelle Ferron, produced during her Parisian period, is a highlight of the contemporary offerings; its broad strokes of colour inciting thoughts of sparkling gemstones. Art specialist, Lydia Abbott, comments: "The dynamic tension and bold palette of Sans Titre underscore Ferron's position as a leading artist in both Canada and Europe in the early 1960s. The market for her artworks continues to grow and we anticipate much interest in this lot at our evening auction."
The popular Painters Eleven is well represented in Joyner's sale, with artworks by William Ronald, Harold Town, Walter Yarwood, Oscar Cahen, Jock Macdonald and Tom Hodgson on offer. An oil painting titled 100% Canadian Landscape by Town ($15,000-20,000) is perhaps one of his very best, with its strong and captivating composition filled with heavy impasto, bright pigment and unrivalled energy.
Originally purchased from Montreal's Dominion Gallery, Above Revelstoke, B.C. by E.J. Hughes ($125,000-175,000) has remained in a private European collection for almost fifty years. The thirty-two by forty-eight inch canvas was painted in 1963, the year in which Hughes received his second Canada Council grant. The grants supported the painter's travels to the British Columbia interior, encountering such captivating scenes as Hughes has skillfully presented in Above Revelstoke, B.C. The bird's eye view vantage point looks down into the community of Revelstoke, the delicately composed town a stunning contrast to the wild nature of the mountainous region towering above the town across the water.
The Joyner spring auction includes many other important works of art from notable historical and contemporary Canadian artists, including Maurice Cullen, Marc-Aurele Fortin, Marc-Aurele De Foy Suzor-Cote, Frederick Coburn, Frederick Banting, Clarence Gagnon, Cornelius Krieghoff, Prudence Heward, Lucius O'Brien, Henrietta Mabel May, Frederick Verner, Robert Pilot, Jack Shadbolt, Ronald Bloore, John Kasyn, William McElcheran, Tony Scherman, Ronald Martin, Fernand Toupin, Marcel Barbeau, Paul Beaulieu, Malcolm Rains, Adam Sherriff Scott, Rene Richard, Charles Comfort, Robert Bateman, Norval Morrisseau, Arthur Shilling, Kenneth Lochhead.
Joyner Waddington's, a division of Waddington's Auctioneers (Canada's oldest fine art auction house - founded in 1850) is a leading firm for sales of fine Canadian Art. Over $80 million has been sold by Joyner Waddington's since the merger of Joyner Fine Art and Waddington's Auctioneers in the fall of 2002. Joyner's is recognized for having achieved record prices for works by Important Canadian Artists, including multiple members of the Group of Seven.
Joyner Waddington's Spring Auction of Important Canadian Art will take place at 7:00 pm on Monday, June 3rd at Waddington's Auction Galleries, located at 275 King Street East (Second Floor), just west of Princess Street (between Sherbourne and Parliament Streets). An online session of Canadian Art will be held surrounding the live auction, with bidding taking place between May 27th and June 6th.
For further information, please contact Rob Cowley or Lydia Abbott at 416-504-5100 (toll-free at 877-504-5700, ext. 6178). Press kits including the auction catalogue are also available upon request.