BY IRINA LYTCHAK

Toronto’s Heffel Fine Art Auction House made headlines this week with the $9.1M-sale of Pablo Picasso’s Femme au Chapeau — the most valuable work by a non-Canadian artist to sell at auction in the entire country.

Originally estimated to sell between $8 million to $10 million, Femme au Chapeau is a 1941 depiction of photographer Dora Maar, who served as the main subject of the “Weeping Woman” series during her relationship with Picasso.

Pablo Picasso’s Femme au Chapeau, which made headlines last week, selling at Heffel Fine Art Auction House’s fall auction for $9.1 million. Image courtesy Heffel Fine Art Auction House.

The other highlight of the show was the $2.4-million sale of Canadian artist Emily Carr’s painting Street, Alert Bay. Painted in 1912, the oil-on-canvas piece depicts a British Columbia First Nations village.

The impressive list of auctioned works didn’t end there. More than 20 competing international bidders propelled abstract expressionist painter Joan Mitchell’s Untitled canvas to an exceptional $1,051,250 — far above its presale estimate of $300,000 to $500,000. And Lawren Harris’ Mountain Sketch LXX, a glowing oil consigned by actor and art collector Steve Martin, sold for $391,250.

Other internationally renowned artists whose works were sold during the prestigious event included Jack Bush, Jean Paul Riopelle, Barbara Hepworth, while Daphne Odjig and Ronald Martin set records in the new artists category.

Street, Alert Bay, by Emily Carr, which sold at the auction for $2.4 million. Image courtesy Heffel Fine Art Auction House.

“We’re very pleased with the result of Heffel’s fall auction,” says David Kenneth John Heffel, President of Heffel Fine Art Auction House. “It was a joy to see so many incredible artworks find their new homes and an honour for us to be able to work with these masterpieces for so many months. The best part of the process is sharing them with passionate collectors and enthusiasts.”

According to Heffel, the busy months leading up to the auction included a consignment process, thorough research of each selected work, and the creation of a catalogue for each sale. The event was then marketed and advertised to an international audience and previewed across Canada.

“We wanted to make sure collectors and art lovers had a chance to view and celebrate the works before they hit the auction block,” he says. “It’s a lot of work but it’s also a pleasure — a real labour of love!”

Joan Mitchell’s Untitled canvas sold for an exceptional $1,051,250. Image courtesy Heffel Fine Art Auction House.

Heffel adds that the success of the event is an extension of Toronto’s evolution into a global centre for art, culture, and finance thanks to the presence of other creative players like the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), the Toronto Stock Exchange, and Art Toronto.

“It’s an honour to not only witness the growth happening around us in Toronto, but to also participate in putting the city on the art market map along with New York, London, Paris, and Hong Kong,” he says. “This fall, for the first time ever, nearly half of Heffel’s total sale consisted of major works consigned from outside of Canada, reinforcing our nation’s — and more specifically Toronto’s — place as a rising star in the global art market.”

Heffel Fine Art Auction House hosts two live auctions of major Canadian and international works of art — in May and November. The next live auction will be held on May 27, 2020. Monthly online auctions are hosted online at www.Heffel.com.