Bonhams First Sale In Canada Totals CAD $1.7-Million


International fine art auctioneers Bonhams, which conducts 700 sales a year across four continents, held its first ever sale on Canadian soil last night, Thursday 19 June 2008, in Toronto. Collectors eager to snap up paintings by some of the country’s most revered artists ensured that the sale was a roaring success, with over 91% of the items selling by value – bringing a final auction total of CAD$1,705,938.

jean-paul-lemieux-auction.jpgBonhams has had a presence in Canada for a number of years now sourcing art and antiques to sell internationally. Recently it acquired new premises in Toronto and decided to hold its first Canadian Sale in the city.

The sale last night, held in St Lawrence Hall, was witnessed by crowds of bidders hoping to secure one of the 252 Lots of Canadian and European Art.

President of Bonhams Canada, Jack Kerr-Wilson, said: “I’m extremely pleased with the results of our inaugural Canadian auction. This is the first of a series of sales Bonhams will be holding in Canada.”

Top price of the night was CAD$252,000 for a rare and important watercolour by Peter Rindisbacher, who died at the tender age of 28. This was a Canadian auction record for a work by the artist. A Dog Cariole only used in winter by Canadian Indians was one of three watercolours by the artist in the sale and it had been expected to fetch just CAD$80,000-120,000.

Second highest price was CAD$228,000 for an painting by Jean-Paul Riopelle (Canada, 1923-2002), a member of Montreal’s famous art group Les Automatistes. Le chant de l’alouette, a fantastic example of Riopelle’s use of bold colour, condensed space and expressional movement, also far exceeded pre-sale expectations by over CAD$103,000. The painting was a gift from Dr Fuller, Director of the Seattle Museum of Art to his butler of 20 years, Mr Les Halmshaw – the vendor. Mr Halmshaw arranged amazing parties for his boss, where the guests would include members of the Rockefeller family and movie stars.

Other top lots included:

Peter Rindischbacher
Blackfoot hunting in snow shoes
pen, ink and watercolour over pencil on wove paper
Sold for CAD$132,000

Jean-Paul Riopelle, RCA
oil on canvas
Sold for CAD$114,000

Jean-Paul Lemieux
L’Isle aux Coudres
oil on canvas
Sold for CAD$108,000

Full results are available at and further information about Bonhams Canada can be found at