Don’t Miss These 7 Important Canadian Artworks Hitting the Auction Block This Month

Waddington's Canadian Art auction takes place online from May 29 through June 3.

Ulysse Comtois, Au Jardin En Automne (1980). Courtesy of Waddington’s.
Ulysse Comtois, Au Jardin En Automne (1980). Courtesy of Waddington’s.

Founded in 1850, Waddington’s proudly calls itself Canada’s auction house—and for good reason. Its 171-lear legacy predates the nation’s confederation by 17 years. 

So perhaps it’s no surprise that the auction house is regarded as the worldwide expert on Canadian art, with specialists focused on its many movements and histories, from the ancient traditions of First Nations artists all the way up to Kent Monkman’s enthralling canvases to today. 

Now, Waddington’s is getting ready for its major spring auction of Canadian art (May 29–June 3), featuring a wide array of Canada’s most sought-after artists. Check out these seven lots to keep an eye on. (All estimates are in Canadian dollars.)


Sybil Andrews
At Full Cry
Estimate: $25,000 to $35,000

Sybil Andrews, At Full Cry. Courtesy of Waddington’s.

Sybil Andrews, At Full Cry. Courtesy of Waddington’s.

This bright and colorful linocut by British Canadian artist Sybil Andrews has been in a private collection since it was acquired directly from the artist. The dynamic scene is emblematic of her ability to create a sense of dramatic motion and energy in a print. Here, the horses seem to leap off the paper in a captivating and action-packed scene.


Jack Hamilton Bush
Green Up (1970)
Estimate: $250,000 to $350,000.

Jack Bush, Green Up (1970). Courtesy of Waddington’s.

Jack Bush, Green Up (1970). Courtesy of Waddington’s.

Energetic and joyful, Green Up (1970) marks the beginning of Jack Bush’s late-career period of employing acrylic paints in his colorful abstractions. A part of the Painters Eleven group, a Canadian band of artists associated with Color Field painting, Bush is regarded as a master colorist—talents seen here in vibrant punches of red, blue, and green shapes set against a russet background. 

Cornelius Krieghoff
Estimate: $125,000 to $175,000

Cornelius Krieghoff, Moonlight. Courtesy of Waddington’s.

Cornelius Krieghoff, Moonlight. Courtesy of Waddington’s.

Originally from the collection of Canadian businessman and parliamentarian William Cameron Edwards, Cornelius Krieghoff’s Moonlight has an illustrious history. For years, the painting hung in the hallowed halls of Ottawa’s 24 Sussex Drive—the residence of the Prime Minister of Canada. Coming to auction for the first time in over a century, the painting is consigned to Waddington’s from a family who acquired it directly from Edwards’ estate in the 1920s. Kreighoff is known for his lively and detailed depictions of Canadian life during the early years of the country’s formation. Here, a horse-drawn sled appears before a small cabin with a fire glowing inside its door. Above the moon rises over the landscape on a snowy winter’s night.

Franz Johnston
Cabin in Snowy Woods
Estimate: $15,000 to $25,000

Franz Johnston, Cabin in Snowy Woods. Courtesy of Waddington’s.

Franz Johnston, Cabin in Snowy Woods. Courtesy of Waddington’s.

Franz Johnston was an original member of the Group of Seven, the Canadian landscape painters active from 1920 to 1933. He painted primarily in oil, but it is in his tempera paint works, such as Cabin in Snowy Woods, that Art Nouveau influences shine through. Here the artist has rendered the simple scene of a cabin set in a thick forest reveals in a range of electric blue contrasts. Johnston’s mastery in depicting light, meanwhile, is shown in the warm glow of sunlight on snow and the rays of light shining through gaps in the tall red-trunked pine trees. 


Ulysse Comtois
Couleurs d’Été (1982)
Estimate: $20,000 to$30,000

Ulysse Comtois, Couleurs d'Été (1982). Courtesy of Waddington’s.

Ulysse Comtois, Couleurs d’Été (1982). Courtesy of Waddington’s.

Large-scale works by Ulysse Comtois have been particularly sought-after in recent years and Waddington’s Canadian Art auction will be offering two significant canvases by the artist. Couleurs d’Été, shown here, is an immersive and riotously colorful celebration of summer’s vivid brilliance. Comtois’s painterly technique can be described as an exaggerated pointillism, with naturalistic shapes coming into perspective from a distance.


Clarence Gagnon
Beach Scene, St. Malo (1907)
Estimate: $40,000 to $60,000

Clarence Gagnon, Beach Scene, St. Malo (1907). Courtesy of Waddington’s.

Clarence Gagnon, Beach Scene, St. Malo (1907). Courtesy of Waddington’s.

This painting by Quebecois artist Clarence Gagnon is coming to auction in Canada after decades in a European private collection. Clarence Gagnon painted Beach Scene, St. Malowas in 1907 at the age of 26. The artist had just spent three years in Paris honing his Impressionistic style following years of training in Montreal with artists William Brymner and Edmond Dyonnet. The figure at the center of the painting is believed to be Katherine Irwin, the painter’s future wife, shown in a yellow and white dress. Her sister, Ethel, and her mother are believed to be the figures flanking her. The simplicity of the scene employs jewel-toned hues in depicting the vast seascape before the small colorful figures.


Rene Marcil
Untitled I (1975)
Estimate $8,000 to $10,000

Rene Marcil, Untitled. Courtesy of Waddington’s.

Rene Marcil, Untitled. Courtesy of Waddington’s.

Waddington’s upcoming auction will present not one, but two vibrant works by René Marcil dating from the mid-1970s. Both works are consigned directly from the Patrimoine Marcil, which manages his estate. Marcil began his career as a fashion illustrator and played a pivotal role in Christian Dior’s “New Look” collection in the U.S. following World War II. The artist spent much of his life in Europe, particularly France, and it was in Paris that he transitioned from fashion illustration to Neoplasticism, creating works characterized by bright colors and balanced compositions.

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