Canadian Art Market Review Summer 2011
Summer saw heightened interest in post-war figurative, emphasis on historical validation
Not that many years ago for us and likely for many of our colleagues as well, summer was traditionally a season spent planning and then waiting for clients to return in the fall. For a number of years back then, very much in the French tradition, Galerie Walter Klinkhoff closed its doors altogether for a period of a few weeks during the month of August. Now changes in technology such as the internet and proliferation of mobile devices afford us the opportunity to better serve our clients and prospective clients. Twenty-four-seven access to klinkhoff.com, and our blog where art collectors can find images of select quality works of art, Canadian art market news and valuable expertise, Galerie Walter Klinkhoff on Facebook and Twitter, where we post links to our own material as well as to informative news articles our clients connect with us during their leisure time.
The direct access through the various technological avenues available permit the enjoyment of fine art purchases while holidaying. As a consequence, if one has the supply of fine quality paintings, summer is as busy a season as any other. At Galerie Walter Klinkhoff, the summer of 2011 was highlighted by the acquisition and sale of some exceptional works of art. "Window on Georgian Bay, McGregor Bay, 1933", the painting by Group of Seven founding member Arthur Lismer was one we actively pursued for over 20 years. This extraordinary composition, featured on the cover of our 1997 Arthur Lismer Retrospective Exhibition Catalogue, is one one of the artist's true masterpieces. A rare and outstanding "pochade" by Canada's first modern artist, J.W. Morrice, called "The Flower Seller, Paris", ca. 1905, also punctuated the list. Those paintings, and others of quality, attracted considerable interest demonstrating to us that the market for the best paintings by artists with an established historical reputation and track record in the marketplace is very strong.
Lemieux, Kurelek, Hughes, and Colville. Last year we remarked at the tremendous enthusiasm as buyers purchased important works by some of these artists in the Gallery. Then, last May, Sotheby's sold an excellent Jacques de Tonnancour landscape for a hammer price of $90,000.We continued to see growing demand for fine post-war Canadian art. More buyers have been expanding their interests into post-war art with figuration and into realms beyond
In our July exhibition and sale of Important Canadian Art, an exceptional work by Philip Surrey and similarly fine early Henri Masson composition generated levels of inquiry we had not previously seen. We can't help but suggest that there is greater depth to this market, composed of intelligent buyers in search of alternatives to the more costly early-20th century and abstract works. This appears to be the collectors new "frontier" in our field. In our summer exhibition and sale of Important Canadian Art buyers continued to add outstanding works to their collections.
In contrast to what at least one international art market observer has reported (1), in the important Canadian art market we did not see evidence that instability in the financial markets prompted a liquidation of art for cash. Interest in the most desirable works persisted, mirroring our experience from the 2008 recession. Looking ahead to fall, we have just opened our 38th annual retrospective exhibition (non-selling), this year featuring Blanche Bolduc and a select number of her folk painter colleagues from the Charlevoix region. This group of artists, while not as refined as some of their colleagues with formal training, nevertheless offered a different perspective of the rich Charlevoix region from those of their colleagues like Dr. Frederick Banting, Nora Collyer, Clarence A. Gagnon, Fred Hutchison, A.Y. Jackson, Jean Paul Lemieux, Robert Pilot, René Richard, Goodridge Roberts, Albert Robinson and Jori Smith to name only perhaps some of the most obvious celebrants who painted the county.
The story the Charlevoix folk painters' movement represents a glimpse of social history of an era in a unique place in Canadian art. The well researched catalogue essay accompanying the exhibition was written by Serge Gauthier, Ph.D. historian and ethnologist and President, Société d’histoire de Charlevoix. The catalogue is available online in pdf format. We are grateful to the generous lenders who have assisted us in producing this highly educational non-selling show. On September 30th, we will be hosting the latest in our series of Important Canadian Art exhibitions.
Using our tried and proven method of private sales, we offer sellers the opportunity minimize risk while maximizing the value of their important works of art. Buyers benefit from our value added expertise in vetting for quality, condition, value and authenticity. On November 5th, we'll be showcasing the latest works by Claude A. Simard, R.C.A., our 8th one-man show with this outstanding artist since 1983. This Simard exhibition follows our last successful 2008 sale, which was sold out by the night of the vernissage. The fall ,as always, if you are considering the purchase or sale of important works of art we encourage you to take advantage of our unsurpassed experience and expertise in the Canadian art marketplace.
Ref. (1) Bloomberg: Fear Factor from Stock Turmoil Sparks Deal Hunt in Art Market