Matisse masterpiece fails to sell at Toronto auction
A 100-year-old painting by French master Henri Matisse has failed to sell at a Canadian auction.
“Femme assise sur un balcon,” was billed as the first major oil canvas by Matisse to be up for auction in Canada and was estimated to attract between $3.8 million and $5.8 million, according to Heffel Fine Art Auction House.
The artwork, which depicts a woman seated in an armchair on a balcony, remained unsold following an auction in the former stock exchange on Toronto’s Bay Street Wednesday evening.
According to Heffel, the piece belonged to Matisse’s family and was passed down from generation to generation.
Despite the Matisse painting failing to sell, the auction was a good night for Canadian artists.
Heffel saw total sales of $16.5 million from the auction, led by “Incandescence” and “Carnaval II” by Quebec artist Jean Paul Riopelle, each of which surpassed $2.8 million on the auction block.
The pair of paintings were from the estate of Canadian philanthropists Blema and H. Arnold Steinberg.
A piece by Group of Seven member Lawren Harris titled “Coldwell, Lake Superior (Lake Superior Sketch CXXXIX)” was sold for $250,000, near the lower end of its estimated price.
“Laurentian Hills” by A.Y. Jackson, another member of the Group of Seven, sold for $375,000, $25,000 more than its highest estimate.
The Jackson painting was offered for sale from the Art Gallery of Ontario collection and proceeds from its auction will go to fund new acquisitions at the gallery.
Jackson was a Canadian painter and a founding member of the early 20th century band of landscape painters known as the Group of Seven.
“To have the confidence of our consignors, including the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Estate of Blema and H. Arnold Steinberg and so many other important collectors, was a true honour,” said Robert Heffel, Vice-President of Heffel Fine Art Auction House.
“It was gratifying to see the enthusiastic response of bidders and watch the works find their new homes.”
--- With files from The Canadian Press