TORONTO — A painting by Group of Seven founding member Lawren Harris sold for just over $3 million Wednesday night, in line with presale expectations.
The 1925 oil canvas “Mountains East of Maligne Lake” had a pre-sale estimate of $2.5 million to $3.5 million, according to the Heffel Fine Art Auction House, and sold for $3,001,250.
The painting was one of eight paintings by Harris among more than 100 that fetched a total of $15 million.
Other Harris paintings sold Wednesday include “Morin Island, Eclipse Sound, North Baffin Island, Arctic Painting XXXVI,” which sold well above the presale estimate at $1.2 million, and “Cathedral Mountain from Yoho Valley, Mountain Sketch LXXXVI, which sold for $931,250.
Harris paintings have smashed expectations at recent auctions and Heffel has now sold 336 of his works for more than $90 million.
It was last November that “Mountain Forms” by the Brantford, Ont.-born painter went for over $11.2 million, more than double the previous record set in 2002 for the most expensive Canadian work ever sold.
Heading into that auction, Heffel had estimated the 1926 oil canvas could fetch between $3 million and $5 million.
Harris’s work received an international boost when American actor-comedian Steve Martin co-curated an exhibit of his paintings, which debuted in 2015 at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles before heading to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and Art Gallery of Ontario last year.
Also up for auction were three works by Jean-Paul Riopelle, including “Composition.” The work sold for $481,250, matching the presale estimate of $400,000 to $600,000.
In May, a painting by the Quebec artist sold for more than $7.4 million, good for second on the list of Canada’s most expensive works of art. Going into that Heffel sale, the painting “Vent du nord” had a pre-sale estimate of $1 million to $1.5 million.
Three canvases by Jack Bush were sold, including “Winged Totem” for $601,250, about double the presale estimate. “Still” and “3 on Purple” also exceeded the estimates.
A painting by Group of Seven artist A.J. Casson, “Old Lumber Village,” was sold for $361,250.
All prices include a buyer’s premium.
“This has been a huge year for art auctions globally, and this sale was no exception,” said Heffel vice-president Robert Heffel.
“Now more than ever, Canada is as dominant as any other market and Heffel is proud to be at the forefront of this evolution.”