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Emily Carr and Alex Colville headline marquee Heffel auction with monumental masterworks

Press Release

  • Market leader Heffel to present a curated collection of artworks at its spring live auction to a global audience, expected to total $10M to $15M
  • Leading the auction are rare and important masterworks by Emily Carr, Alex Colville and E.J. Hughes

TORONTO, April 27, 2023 – Heffel, Canada’s national auction house and art market leader, is incredibly honoured to showcase a group of museum-quality artworks at its coming spring sale, which will be presented on May 25, 2023 in Toronto and to a global audience. The sale will be divided into its time-honoured sessions of Post-War & Contemporary Art, followed by Canadian, Impressionist & Modern Art, and each will be anchored by major works. A number of acclaimed masterworks are making their auction debuts and leading the sale, including Emily Carr’s spectacular Sitka Totem Pole, E.J. Hughes’s dynamic Abandoned Village, Rivers Inlet, BC and Alex Colville’s monumental June Noon. The auction, estimated to total between $10 million and $15 million, will feature in-person bidding, together with Heffel’s advanced Digital Saleroom, allowing for participation from all over the world. (All estimate values are in Canadian dollars.)

Alex Colville’s June Noon is a work of exceptional quality, importance and rarity. It has traveled extensively around the world and has been included in major museum shows, including stops in Cologne and Berlin, as well as the world’s most prestigious contemporary art exhibit—the 33rd Venice Biennale in 1966, in which Colville represented Canada. The thoughtful painting, which has been in an important collection in Germany for more than 50 years, depicts the artist’s wife, Rhoda in a tent, and Colville himself looking out to sea. It was just after this work was shown in Venice that Colville launched into worldwide acclaim and a number of career-changing accomplishments. This monumental auction marks an exceptionally rare opportunity to own one of the finest works by Colville ever produced.

Leading Heffel’s historical offering this spring is Emily Carr’s masterpiece Sitka Totem Pole, painted in 1912 on the heels of her return from France. The work has been cared for by the same family since it was first acquired from Carr’s dealer, the revered Max Stern of Dominion Gallery, and has only been seen by the public once in the last 100 years when it toured with the National Gallery of Canada’s 2006 exhibition, Emily Carr: New Perspectives on a Canadian Icon. It was first shown at Carr’s debut exhibition at Dominion Hall, Vancouver in 1913. This fresh-to-the-market canvas, featuring a towering and energetic totem pole, is a breathtaking depiction of one of the most revered symbols of Tlingit culture and exemplifies Carr’s deep respect and admiration for the Indigenous communities she visited and befriended. Her use of bold, vibrant colours and quintessential dynamic brushstrokes, along with the market rarity, make it an incredibly sought-after example, and one that is sure to dazzle collectors.

“Heffel is extremely proud to go back to our roots and have iconic masterpieces by Carr, Colville and Hughes leading the charge, and making their mark on the auction market for the first time,” said David Heffel, President of Heffel Fine Art Auction House. “These paintings are not only artistic treasures, but are also important pieces of history and culture, and we are honoured to present them as such this spring.”

Highlights from the Heffel Auction

  • Emily Carr shines in the Heffel auction with an extraordinarily rare canvas, Sitka Totem Pole, which has been in the same family since it was first acquired from Carr’s dealer. The vibrant treasure, depicting a commanding pole in Alaska, was inscribed $400 by Carr and is now estimated to achieve more than 2,500 times its original selling price (est. $1,000,000 – 1,500,000).
  • Alex Colville’s most famous works are most often reserved for renowned museum collections around the world. June Noon was originally acquired by the Langen family in Germany, famous for their impressive private art museum, and has been housed in their collection for more than 50 years. It comes to auction for the first time, and leads Heffel’s Post-War & Contemporary Art session by estimate (est. $1,500,000 – 2,500,000).
  • A widely known canvas by E.J. Hughes will make its very first appearance on the auction market this spring. Abandoned Village, Rivers Inlet, BC is a large and powerful painting consigned from the Alma Mater Society of the University of British Columbia (est. $1,250,000 – 1,750,000). Many Heffel staff members are proud UBC alumni, and the AMS art collection is both personally and professionally significant to the firm.
  • Also consigned from the UBC AMS is the stunning Northern Image by Group of Seven member Lawren Harris, produced during his important period of abstraction. Since it was first painted in 1952, the work has toured extensively across Canada with prominent museum exhibitions, and is sure to draw collectors and enthusiasts this season (est. $450,000 – 550,000).
  • In 2022 Heffel shattered the global record for any editioned print by Andy Warhol ever offered at auction with the sale of Queen Elizabeth II, from the ultra-rare Royal Edition, for $1,141,250. This season, the highly coveted, iconic portrait, part of the famed Reigning Queens series, appears once again, this time in the vibrant red colourway (est. $200,000 – 300,000).
  • Globally collected Colour Field artist Jack Bush highlights the Post-War offering this fall, spanning important series and periods of his illustrious career. Notable works include Plume Totem and Flip (est. $250,000 – 350,000 each).
  • Jean Paul Riopelle stands out in the auction with a number of outstanding examples from his most sought-after decade, the 1950s. Riopelle is once again making waves on the global art scene as the world begins to celebrate his centenary and commemorate his enduring legacy with a number of important exhibitions and events.
  • A number of internationally renowned artists light up the auction catalogue, and will undoubtedly draw attention from bidders worldwide. Jean Arp’s Fruit préadamite (est. $90,000 – 120,000) and Auguste Rodin’s Andromède (est. $80,000 – 120,000) are among the highlights.

Heffel Spring Auction Schedule

To give collectors and enthusiasts from across Canada an opportunity to view these works, the collection is being previewed in four cities leading up to the auction and through virtual gallery tours.

  • Calgary: March 24March 26, Heffel Gallery (220 Manning Road NE, Unit 1080)
  • Vancouver: April 15 – April 24, Heffel Gallery (2247 Granville Street)
  • Montreal: May 4 – May 10, Galerie Heffel (1840 rue Sherbrooke Ouest)
  • Toronto: May 17 – May 24, Heffel Gallery (13 Hazelton Avenue)

The two-session auction will take place on Thursday, May 25 in Toronto. In addition to in-person bidding, the sale will be broadcast live at and several remote bidding options will be available.

  • 4:30 pm ET — Pre-Auction Video Presentation
  • 5:00 pm ET — Post-War & Contemporary Art Auction
  • 7:00 pm ET — Canadian, Impressionist & Modern Art Auction

For additional details on the previews and auction participation, and to access the online catalogues, please visit or contact our specialists.

About Heffel Fine Art Auction House

Since 1978, Heffel has connected passionate collectors across the world with outstanding works of art, with sales totaling three quarters of a billion dollars. With facilities in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Ottawa and Calgary, Heffel has the most experienced team of fine art specialists in Canada and provides superior client service to both sellers and buyers internationally.

For further information: To schedule an interview or media viewing, or for high-resolution images, please contact: Rebecca Rykiss, Heffel Fine Art Auction House, [email protected], 647-361-4607


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