Alan on the Art World

  • Blog
    November 9, 2018


    Molly Lamb Bobak, C.M., O.N.B., R.C.A. (1920-2014) Remembrance Day (1), Montreal, 1983

    Alan Klinkhoff reflects on Molly Lamb Bobak's career and her role as a Canadian military artist in the Second World War.  Bobak was the first female Canadian war artist.  During her career in the Canadian Women's Army Corps, Bobak began a journal in which she depicted her military training as well as dynamic scenes of marches and parades — subject matter for which she would later be well known.

  • Alan Klinkhoff on Cultural Property Export Controls

    “I believe the export controls continue to do much disservice to the interest they were designed to protect." (Walter Klinkhoff, Reminiscences of an Art Dealer, 1994, p. 26). 


    Having been a major and distinguished participant in the art dealing trade in Canada for more than four decades, in 1994 my father Walter Klinkhoff wrote the above about the unintended consequences of Bill C-33, The Cultural Properties Act.


    Tuesday, June 12,  the Federal Court issued its ruling in favour of Heffel Auction House in their appeal against a decision by the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board (CCPERB) to bar the export of a Gustave Caillebotte. The Honourable Mr. Justice Manson’s judgement in Heffel Gallery v. the Attorney General, Canada breathes fresh air into what, in our opinion, has always been a disservice to Canadians and has become increasingly so over the decades since Dad penned those astute remarks. 

  • Craig, Alan, Helen and Jonathan Klinkhoff

    Reflecting on this past year at Alan Klinkhoff Gallery and, there are, for us, obvious highlights. One was the outstanding collection of Lawren Harris paintings we successfully offered for sale on behalf of an important private collector. We cannot over emphasise our gratitude to the owners of this extraordinary Harris collection, the family which allowed us to present for sale such fine examples of Canadian art. We were proud to show them in our Montreal and Toronto galleries as well as on, a platform in which we have invested heavily in both financial and human resources to offer a stimulating and informative visit.

  • Alan Klinkhoff with Beaver Swamp by Lawren Harris

    Alan Klinkhoff, president of Alan Klinkhoff Gallery, describes some of the landmark Lawren S. Harris paintings featured in our historic April 1 sale. 

  • Blog
    March 21, 2017

    The Most Valuable Canadian Art Sale in History: Lawren Harris & Canadian Masters:

    Sale features paintings valued at over $40 million
    Alan Klinkhoff with Beaver Swamp by Lawren Harris

    Lawren Harris & Canadian Masters: Historic Sale Celebrating Canada’s 150 Years features 15 paintings by iconic artist Lawren Harris with a total value of over CAD$ 40 million. Fourteen of the Harrises, which have been in a single private collection for over 40 years, represent the most valuable single consignment in the Canadian art market.

  • Blog
    February 6, 2016

    2015 Year In Review

    2015 Year In Review

    2015 was a memorable year for Galerie Alan Klinkhoff / Alan Klinkhoff Gallery. The quality of works of art we transacted to new generations of their stewardship was exceptional. We are grateful to the clients and friends who encouraged the development of our Yorkville, Toronto gallery with their business.


  • On March 28, 2015, Galerie Alan Klinkhoff celebrated one full year at 1448 Sherbrooke Street West. It has been a very special one from a number of perspectives.

  • In reaction to the controversy surrounding the Vancouver Art Gallery’s J.E.H. MacDonald donation

    On July 14, 2014, at the invitation of a distinguished colleague and friend of long standing, I flew from Montreal to Toronto and was driven to a commercial art gallery in Hamilton where I was to participate as an evaluator of a group of paintings to be donated to the Vancouver Art Gallery. Our hosts, Marvin Cohen and Janet McNaught, showed us to a room in their fine gallery where the works to evaluate were on display.  With only momentary delay while looking about the room, without exaggeration I can only say that shivers went up my spine.

  • Among the paintings at McMichael once transacted by the Klinkhoffs is John Lyman's, The Beach, St-Jean-de-Luz.

    On Sunday, November 9, 2014 as guests of the McMichael Collection's Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Victoria Dickenson, Jonathan, Helen and I, accompanied by two friends visited the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Kleinburg for another viewing of "Morrice and Lyman in the Company of Matisse". This outstanding exhibition is organized by the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec with an accomplished Canadian art team of scholars headed by Michèle Grandbois Ph.D. with contributions from François-Marc Gagnon Ph.D., Marc Gauthier, Richard Foisy and Lucie Dorais M.A., the latter one the foremost authorities on the work of James Wilson Morrice.  


    Since its hanging in Quebec, the exhibition has been augmented and complemented with additional paintings for the Ontario venue by McMichael's Katerina Atanassova, who is soon leaving for a position of curator of Canadian art at the National Gallery of Canada. The collaboration of U.B.C.'s John O'Brian is also acknowledged as a key component in the quality of research provided in the catalogue, a "must buy" for Canadian art lovers.

  • In the March 9-10 Global Edition of The New York Times my all time favourite art writer, Souren Melikian, wrote: "Until World War II, dealers dominated the market. Then, by the early 1950s, galleries began to lose ground to auction houses, and within 20 years, these became the locomotive pulling all categories to indefinitely rising price levels. The drastic contraction of supplies of the art from past centuries over the last five decades now threatens the very existence of the auction houses. Soon there may not be enough left in the market to provide the quantities needed to make the expensive system financially viable." I think it's pretty safe to say we've seen evidence here in the Canadian auction field already.

  • As many of our readers will now know, Sotheby's Canada yesterday announced its withdrawal from the "theatre" of Canadian art auctions. While this is being hailed in some corners as a victory for competing Canadian auction houses, in our opinion it is an affirmation of the growing popularity of no-risk private-treaty sales, the kind of transaction art galleries like ours do as our daily business. These private-treaty sales, distinguished Ireland-based art economist Clare McAndrew suggests, already represent 52% of the art market business. And, indeed, 2012 was a record year for sales at our fixed-price gallery.

  • Blog
    December 22, 2012

    Canadian Art Market in 2012

    Canadian Art Market in 2012

    I will begin this retrospective with the comment that in my career I cannot recall a holiday season as vigorous as this. Contemporary art, the market arguably most affected by global economic concerns, surged to levels we have not recently seen. I am as delighted to report this to our readers as I am for some of our outstanding contemporary artists, who benefit from the well-placed confidence of buyers. I am also proud to announce that 2012 was a record year for sales at Klinkhoff.

  • Season's Greetings & 2012 Year End Review

    The highlight of the fall season for me had to be "Painting Canada:  Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven", the McMichael Collection in Kleinburg, Ontario, hosted brilliantly under the relatively new leadership of Dr. Victoria Dickenson.  This was the same presentation that fortunate spectators had previously enjoyed in London and then Oslo, an exhibition which was not originally scheduled for a Canadian venue.  Since previously published accolades have been as numerous as they have been eloquent, I shall simply add to the commentary that I can think of no better place to see that collection than at McMichael where I was accompanied by my wife Helen, son Jonathan, and an enthusiastic art collector from Vancouver coincidentally visiting the Toronto area.  Risking nostalgia, this is a place of pilgrimage I have occasionally visited over the last 50 years, each visit being as stimulating as the one previous.

  • Blog
    September 4, 2012

    The Art of Expertise

    The Art of Expertise

    It is my opinion that a gallery which provides a genuine and market respected expertise is a gallery that serious collectors should pursue to assist in the vetting of their art collection. The only obvious alternatives that comes to mind as I write these musings is that if the venue where one is buying does not have the requisite expertise, it should acquire the expertise and have it accompany one’s purchase.

  • Predictable auction results confirm the advantages of private sales One of our distinguished colleagues, Chris Varley, recently distributed summary of his observations regarding a trio of auction sales including many with which we agree. I would also choose add a few comments of my own: Essentially what we are seeing is a polarization of the market where there is enormous interest for what our distinguished client, friend and neighbour, investment guru Stephen Jarislowsky, refers to as “first quartile” works of art. The evidence was the record price achieved for the exceptional Borduas and Brandtner at Sotheby's, the Lemieux of 'La plage Américaine', the J.E.H. MacDonald, and one Emily Carr at Heffel, as well as Joyner's resounding success with a most handsome Carmichael watercolour. Although much more modest in value, I confess that Joyner's solid price for his Emma Lake Dorothy Knowles was a surprise to me. It is only so because I thought that it might have been lost, hidden...
  • Dear clients and friends of Galerie Walter Klinkhoff and artist Claude A. Simard, Recent news articles have reported that one of the promoters of an art-donation scheme in the municipality of Larouche in the Saguenay region was convicted of tax evasion before the Court of Quebec in Montréal. We would like to remind and/or inform you that this person, named Claude Simard, is of no relation to our artist and friend Claude A. Simard , from Ste. Foy, Quebec. Thank you for your attention to this distinction. Claude A. Simard has requested that we distribute the following e-mail: Dear friends, It's all over the papers again today. A fellow who goes by the same name as me has been condemned for tax evasion in a grand fraudulent scheme he set up in Larouche Quebec. This man lives in New-York and is in no way related to me. Please make sure your friends and clients don't confuse Claude A Simard...
  • On March 8th, 2012 the Montreal Gazette published an article with the headline Galleries, museums shortchange artists: painter (pg 3). The following is an edited copy of our letter in reply. Dear Sir / Madam, Although it might be prudent for me to entirely ignore the page 3 'theft' story, I do however feel obliged to comment. You have dedicated 3/4 of a page to the nine year-old issue of a self-proclaimed artist who had been given the opportunity to show her work at Art Sales and Rental at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts where one of her works was stolen. The artist was paid the amount for which the gallery insured the work, I imagine for reasons of economy, that being wholesale or the net payable to the artist had it been sold. Three-quarters of a page is dedicated to an amount of somewhere between $1,200 and $2,000 that your sample artist under no circumstance would have otherwise...
  • Surge in Demand for 'Fresh' Artwork Offered Privately: Fall 2011

    The fall of 2011 and first two months of the New Year have shown tangible evidence of the outstanding value of fixed price selling of fine art in the gallery setting. It can be the optimum marriage of seller to buyer where the best and right price are achieved with the benefit of a knowledgeable and trustworthy broker.

  • On Saturday, November 27, 2011 the Toronto Star printed the article "Art auction brings couple $70000 lifeline", which is reproduced in part at the bottom of this page (but not available online). Galerie Walter Klinkhoff submitted the following correction to the editor: "Contrary to your report but according to [the owner] and the auctioneer's website, their most costly work, representing a reported value of $47,500 was not sold during the auction. The facts as they were at the time of your writing is that our gallery had offered the [the owner] that $70,000 lifeline but that the auction process cut it, delivering $22,500, before whatever commission they charged."

  • Did you see this written by Globe and Mail art writer James Adams describing the May 27, 2011 Joyner Waddington’s Canadian Art auction? “A hefty 35 per cent of its offerings - 89 lots - went unsold on Friday, and those that did sell more often than not went for prices at or slightly above their reserve ….” (Toronto Globe & Mail May 28, 2011). And the previous day Mr. Adams wrote about the Sotheby’s Toronto auction sale: “There wasn't much joy among Sotheby's Canada managers and employees at the conclusion of the company's spring sale of important Canadian art Thursday in Toronto. Sotheby's had 198 lots up for live bidding at the Royal Ontario Museum, carrying a total pre-sale estimate of between $4.7-million and $6.9-million. By the time Hugh Hildesley, the New York-based chair of the company's Canadian advisory committee, hammered down the last lot of the evening, he had managed to sell only about 135 of them for a total of slightly more than $4.02-million. And this included the commission that Sotheby's charges on the hammer price of each successful bid (20 per cent on the first $50,000 of the hammer, 15 per cent on the balance).”

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