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Canadian garage sale find could fetch $15K at Heffel spring art auction


Works by Group of Seven member Tom Thomson and renowned painter Emily Carr are top draws at the Heffel spring auction on Wednesday in Vancouver, each expected to fetch hundreds of thousands of dollars, but eyes will also be on an unassuming oil painting by Canadian artist Bertram Charles (B.C.) Binning.

The 1957 nautical abstract, titled Painted Structure in Space, remains in its original frame and is signed by the artist who was considered a leader in mid-20th Century Canadian art, known for artwork inspired by the British Columbia coast.

It was purchased for $ 200 at a garage sale in Ontario, found in a box of other paintings. Its new owners searched the name of the artist and brought it to the Heffel gallery to be consigned once they realized its potential value.

“It’s fantastic when people bring in paintings and don’t know what kind of treasures they have,” said Robert Heffel, vice-president of Heffel Fine Art Auction House. “It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it’s great to see the look on their face when we tell them how valuable the work of art is.”

The auction house estimates that the oil painting on burlap on board will sell for $ 10,000 to $ 15,000.

A total of 145 lots of Canadian art will be offered in a live auction expected to achieve between $ 7-million to $ 10-million, including highlights such as work by all the original members of the Group of Seven.

Emily Carr, Forest Light

Emily Carr’s Forest Light is expected to fetch $ 400,000 – $ 600,000. (Heffel)

Other notable works up for sale include:

  • Emily Carr’s Forest Light is estimated to sell for $ 400,000 to $ 600,000.
  • Tom Thomson’s Woods in Winter is estimated to sell for $ 250,000 to $ 350,000.

  • Jack Bush’s Red Loop Low is estimated to sell for $ 250,000 to $ 350,000.

  • Paul-Émile Borduas’s Chant d’été is estimated to sell for $ 400,000 to $ 500,000.

  • Jean Paul Lemieux’s La visite is estimated to sell for $ 250,000 to $ 350,000.

Heffel’s two-part live auction takes place at the Vancouver Convention Centre West with Canadian Post-War & Contemporary Art going on the block at 4 p.m. PST and Fine Canadian Art at 7 p.m. PST.

See more auction highlights in the photo gallery above.

CBC | Arts News