Emily Carr’s 1931 painting Cordova Drift sold for $3,361,260 at a Heffel auction in Vancouver on Dec. 1, the second highest price ever paid for a work by the B.C. artist.
Another painting, Paul Kane’s 1855 oil Assiniboine Hunting Buffalo, sold for $3,241,250, while Tom Thomson’s Spring, 1916 went for $1,621,250, doubling its pre-auction estimate.
The sale was conducted through Heffel’s “digital showroom,” with bidders watching online rather than attending in-person. But it still posted strong results, with $21 million in sales for only 80 lots.
Cordova Drift depicts a natural seaside scene near Victoria with lots of movement in the forest and water. The sale price fell only $32,000 below Carr’s 1928-30 painting The Crazy Stair, which sold for $3,393,000 at a Heffel auction in Toronto in 2013.
Four other Carrs were sold in the auction, including the 1912 painting Maude Island Totem, which went for $841,250. (All prices include Heffel’s buyer’s premium, which is 20 per cent.)
Other highlights included Alex Colville’s 1981 acrylic Night Walk, which sold for $901,250, and Lawren Harris’s 1929-30 oil-on-board sketch From Sentinel Pass Above Moraine Lake, Rocky Mts., which sold for $691,250.
Arthur Lismer’s 1926 painting Mountain and Lake sold for $601,250, the same price realized by the Jack Bush abstract Sway #1.
Other B.C. painters with strong sales were Gordon Smith, whose June 99 went for $217,250, Takao Tanabe, whose West Coast 2/88: Eucott Bay sold for $169,250, and B.C. Binning, whose Two Ships Cruising in Fine Water sold for $55,250.