A Canadian art auction has celebrated $11.5m worth of sales, with leading Group of Seven artist Lawren Harris topping the lots at $1.1m for his 1913 painting Hurdy Gurdy - a modernist-impressionist work which sold for almost double its $600,000 estimate.
Works by Group of Seven artists (sometimes known as the Algonquin school), including Harris, Emily Carr and AY Jackson were among the myriad lots available at the November 22 auction in Toronto.
Record breaking highlights included William Kurelek's King of the Mountain, which sold for $380,250 - a $30,250 increase on its $350,000 estimate - and Jack Shadbolt's Guardian Spirit of Owl, which went for $163,800 after being valued at just $60,000.
A total of seven works by artist and writer Emily Carr sold for a combined $2.2m. Carr reputedly joined the Group of Seven after Harris told her: "You are one of us." Extensive dialogues with Harris are thought to have rejuvenated Carr's passion for painting as well as an interest in northern European symbolism, which is evident in her later works.
"This auction exceeded our expectations and it is a testament to the strength of the Canadian art market," auctioneer David KJ Heffel stated.
"It included some of Canada's greatest masters, and we set new records for artists from coast-to-coast including Jack Shadbolt, Takao Tanabe, Emily Carr and William Kurelek. Tonight, Canadians went home with rare and exceptional museum-quality works."
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