Rare painting by insulin co-discoverer Dr. Frederick Banting going to auction
Published Monday, October 22, 2018 10:39PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, October 22, 2018 11:25PM EDT
While Dr. Frederick Banting is known as the Canadian physician who co-discovered insulin, he was also an accomplished painter. Next month, one of his paintings will be auctioned off in Toronto.
Entitled “The Lab,” the rare still life depicts the University of Toronto research laboratory where Banting made his breakthrough discovery with fellow Canadian Dr. Charles Best.
“When you hold it, you feel like you're holding a piece of history,” Heffel Fine Art Auction House president David Heffel told CTV News. “We've handled at Heffel's a lot of Bantings over the years, but this is a very special Banting.”
The piece was created two years after Banting won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1923 for the insulin discovery, which forever changed the lives of people with diabetes. It is also the only interior painting of Banting’s that Heffel is aware of.
“Even though it has a bit of a dark pallet to it, I find it a very optimistic painting,” Heffel said.
Banting, Heffel notes, was friends with several members of early 20th century band of landscape painters known as the Group of Seven.
“He was probably most strongly connected with A. Y. Jackson,” Heffel said.
Toronto-based art historian Gregory Humeniuk call the painting a very personal work that reflects a complex, curious mind.
“Banting was somebody who was absolutely at the top of his game, had no need to do this, had no need to paint and continued to paint in this very diligent way and traipsed across the country almost coast to coast to coast,” Humeniuk explained.
“The Lab” has been valued at $20,000 to $30,000.
Heffel Fine Art Auction House plans to donate the commission of the sale of the painting to the Banting & Best Diabetes Centre in Toronto, which aims to advance diabetes research, education and patient care.
With a report from CTV Alberta Bureau Chief Janet Dirks