TORONTO — A painting by Canadian artist William Kurelek sold in a Toronto auction for $472,000 — the second highest on record for the artist and more than double its estimated value of $150,000 and $200,000.
Consignor Canadian Fine Art says the 1972 paining, titled “Hot Day in Kensington Market,” is one of 21 works in Kurelek’s “Toronto” series depicting life in the city where the Alberta-born artist found commercial success and raised a family.
The auction house says a second painting by Kurelek, “Hauling Hay,” fetched $94,400.
It says the most surprising result of Tuesday night’s auction was a record set for Canadian artist Charles Comfort, whose piece “Smokestacks, Copper Cliff” sold for $33,040, which was six times its estimate of $3,000 and $5,000.
The painting is one of several preparatory sketches to the final canvas, “Smelter Stacks, Copper Cliff,” which is in the National Gallery of Canada’s permanent collection.
All prices include an 18 per cent buyer’s premium.
Meanwhile, Quebec-born abstractionist Paul-Emile Borduas will headline the Heffel spring sale Wednesday with the 1956 “Figures schematiques.”
The auction house says the painting could fetch between $3 million and $5 million, challenging Borduas’s best price at auction, which was a canvas sold for $737,500 in 2015.
Auction house vice-president Robert Heffel says at roughly 1.3 metres by two metres, the canvas is the largest of Borduas’s black-and-white paintings in private hands.
“Borduas was one of Canada’s most important postwar contemporary painters,” Heffel says. “(The painting is) a culmination of his career.”
The Heffel auction will also feature eight works by the Group of Seven’s Lawren Harris, a portrait by Emily Carr and a Tom Thomson painting that was recently recovered from an Edmonton grandmother’s basement.