Colville painting shatters sales record at auction; Picasso sells for US$1.3 million

Alex Colville's "Dog and Bridge" is seen in this photograph provided by Heffel Fine Art Auction House.

A painting by Alex Colville shattered a price record for work by the Canadian master at an auction held in Toronto on Wednesday.

Colville's 1976 canvas "Dog and Bridge" sold for more than US$2.4 million -- doubling its estimated value. The work had been owned privately for decades and had never appeared at auction before.

"Presenting a masterpiece as special as Colville's 'Dog and Bridge' was a highlight for Heffel, and we're thrilled that our excitement was matched by our bidders," said David Heffel, president of Heffel Fine Art Auction House, which held the sale.

Other works saw strong bidding.

Pablo Picasso's 1939 "Tete de femme" sold for more than $1.3 million -- about in the middle of its estimated range.

Abstract Expressionist painter Joan Mitchell's oil on canvas triptych, "Untitled," sold for nearly $1.2 million, well above its estimated price of about $500,000.

Quebec artist Jean Paul Riopelle's commanding, large-scale "Le reveil" sold for about $1.2 million.

Yvonne McKague Housser's "Town of Cobalt" sold for more than $200,000, four times its estimate.

Five works by Lawren Harris were also sold, two for well above their estimates. His "North East Corner of Lake Superior (Lake Superior Sketch XXXVIII)" fetched $481,250 and the abstraction "LSH 89A" went for $277,250.

One of the five works had been stowed away in the late Canadian painter's possessions for decades, but was uncovered by relatives earlier this year.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 15, 2020.