Works by Pablo Picasso, Emily Carr among paintings on display in Montreal

MONTREAL - A Pablo Picasso worth $10 million and a collection of Emily Carr's paintings documenting indigenous villages will be among a group of paintings on display in Montreal this week.

Robert Heffel, vice-president of the Heffel Fine Art Auction House, said the group of paintings -- which includes works by Jean-Paul Riopel and Lawren Harris -- could be worth around $25 million. They'll be up for grabs at an auction in Toronto later this month.

"To get works of art and masterpieces are few and far between, and this is a very, very special sale. To have paintings of this quality and importance," he said.

The masterpieces hanging in the gallery, which is open to the Montreal public this month, excite Heffel. He feels a kind of energy emanating from such historic canvases, he said.

Picasso's "Femme au Chapeau," an abstract representation of one of the painter's muses, hangs near Emily Carr's "Street, Alert Bay:" a masterpiece displaying a colourful rendition of totem poles and a vibrant landscape.

"It's an incredible painting," he said, admiring the Carr work, his voice breaking into a laugh. "It's arguably the most important Emily Carr canvas in private hands."

Carr finished the piece after she returned from Paris in 1911 and devoted her life to documenting indigenous villages. It's expected to sell for $3 million.

"She came back and did these incredible paintings of First Nation villages and totem poles using these bright, bold colours," he explained.

The works are expensive because they're rare, Heffel said. The quality of the works and the names of their painters can send a ticket price soaring.

"They're very special paintings, and it's very rare for paintings of this quality to come to market and based on the demand, you get those economic transactions," he said.

Montrealers can see the paintings in the Heffel Gallery, at 1840 Sherbrooke Street West, from Nov. 7 to 9.

With files from CTV Montreal's Scott Prouse