You never know when you are going to find a hidden gem.
Such was the case this past summer when Consignor Canadian Fine Art brought its Consignor Roadshow to St. John’s seeking rare and unique pieces of art.
“We were fortunate to discover the painting when we were in St. John’s in August,’’ Rob Cowley, president, Canadian Art Specialist of Consignor Canadian Fine Art said Wednesday.
“It was a private showing from that Tuesday night and I knew right away what we had,” he added.
This important A.Y. Jackson piece titled “Ungava Coast,” an oil sketch, was discovered in St. John’s during a public appraisal event this past summer.
It is projected to earn between $70,000 and $90,000 at Consignor Canadian Fine Art’s semi-annual Fall Live Auction of Important Canadian Art that is taking place Nov. 20.
Newfoundlanders and Labradorians were encouraged during the summer event to bring in works of art for free valuations, in the hopes of uncovering hidden masterpieces.
The Jackson painting is a study for a celebrated canvas that is currently part of the Hart House Collection at the University of Toronto.
Cowley said this sketch was done on a trip to the Arctic in 1927 with Frederick Banting, the doctor who discovered insulin.
He said they were able to stop in Ungava Bay, an area that was at the time part of Labrador and later became the Nunavut community of Port Burwell.
“This was the only sketch from this trip and it was used to create an oil sketch titled ‘Labrador Coast,’ ” Cowley said.
“Since we previewed it at the start of November, there have been lots of inquiries because of its historical significance and the beauty of the work,’’ he added.
The sketch by Jackson will be featured during Consignor’s fall live auction of important Canadian Art at the Gardiner Museum in Toronto.
Consignor’s live and online auctions have included headline-grabbing works such as a rare 100-year-old Tom Thomson portrait (“Daydreaming,” sold for $172,500), an undiscovered William Kurelek (“Ukrainian Proverb,” sold for $41,400), and Jack Bush’s “Summer Lake” which broke online auction records in May 2014 for the most expensive painting by a Canadian artist to be sold at an online auction ($310,500).
Consignor’s inaugural live auction event in May 2016 set the record for the highest-selling “Algoma” sketch by Lawren Harris, fetching $977,500, tripling the previous auction record; and most recently, its Spring 2018 live auction challenged the auction record for a William Kurelek painting, “Hot Day in Kensington Market” fetching $472,000, more than doubling pre-sale expectation.
For more information, go to www.consignor.ca.