Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Group of Seven
Do you like art? I do. I love Canadian Art and its just my favorite thing to enjoy.
A guilty side pleasure I guess. If I had money to burn, after all my tithes and bills were accounted for, I would indulge in a beautiful piece of work from The Group of Seven. The neatest story was on CBC today about a really wonderful art discovery in the States. Sad how it happened but a fairytale non-the-less.
"Randy Boswell, The Ottawa Citizen
Published: Wednesday, October 24, 2007
A previously unknown Tom Thomson "masterpiece" capturing Canada's autumn splendour has been discovered amid a treasure of long-lost Canadian art found in a Vermont farmhouse after the death of a little-known collector.
The small sketch by the legendary landscape artist, showing a fall scene in the Ontario backwoods, is expected to fetch up to $600,000 at an upcoming Sotheby's-Ritchies auction in Toronto that will also feature dozens of other notable paintings -- including prized works from the seminal "Beaver Hall" school of Canadian female artists -- found last month collecting dust in the unkempt country home of a former Montreal art lover.
"It began with a gentleman dropping dead on a sidewalk in Zurich, Switzerland, on a Monday," David Silcox, president of Sotheby's Canada, said. "On the Tuesday, the executors of his estate phoned to say they'd been left instructions (by the deceased man) saying, 'I have a collection of Canadian art which has some value and you should probably call Sotheby's in Toronto.' "
Sotheby's asked the executors to name some of the artists.
"They phoned back the next day and said there's an artist named Varley, somebody named Harris, somebody called Jackson," recalled Mr. Silcox, who then realized that the mysterious collection included works by Group of Seven artists F. H. Varley, A. Y. Jackson and Lawren Harris, and could be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
By week's end, Mr. Silcox -- one of the country's leading curators and art historians -- was standing wide-eyed in the living room of the late Michael Dunn, gazing at more than 100 significant Canadian paintings worth, in fact, millions of dollars.
"It was like a hermit had lived there," said Mr. Silcox. "It was pretty messy, things piled in the corners, piles of paper and clothing, stuff stacked all over the place. But there were pictures on the walls -- quite amazing. In the living room, which wasn't easy to get through, there were paintings piled on chairs and the sofa and the side tables, and three or four paintings leaning against walls and dressers. And I picked up this one that was sitting on the floor behind an easy chair -- and it was a Tom Thomson."
Mr. Silcox had found Algonquin Park -- a small oil sketch capturing a fall scene in the Ontario wilderness region made famous by Thomson and his Group of Seven associates, and described by Sotheby's as an "entirely unknown" work by the Canadian cultural icon.
"As far as is known, it has never before been published or exhibited, and was sequestered outside of the country for decades," according to the statement announcing the Nov. 19 sale.
Expected to sell for between $400,000 and $600,000, the painting "probably dates from his last autumn, just prior to his death," Sotheby's said.
Thomson, who was a friend and artistic inspiration to the future members of the Group of Seven, died in uncertain circumstances while canoeing in Algonquin Park in 1917.
The rediscovered Algonquin Park scene isn't the only Thomson painting that will draw national attention next month. Another small, but dramatic, work by Thomson -- a 22-by-27-centimetre sketch depicting the northern lights -- is expected to fetch close to $1 million at a separate sale of Canadian art being held by Heffel Fine Art Auction House in Toronto on Nov. 23."
Isn't that something? I can't believe how exciting that is. And the picture they found is simply stunning. The best news of all, is that my homeschool group will be going to the McMichael Art Gallery in Toronto on Friday and they house a spectacular collection of Group of Seven works. I'm sure it will be a buzz! Can't wait!