NEW HAMBURG, Ontario, Canada – Original oil paintings by Canadian “Group of Seven” artists Alexander Young Jackson (1882-1974) and Franz Johnston (1888-1949) have won top honors at auction Canadiana & Folk Art online only held February 12th by New Hamburg-based Miller & Miller Auctions, Ltd. The 376-lot auction posted a strong gross of $415,714.
Prices shown in this report are in Canadian dollars and include an 18% buyer’s premium.
Alexander Young Jackson’s oil on panel titled Village on the South Shore of the St. Lawrence (circa 1945), measuring 10 ½ inches by 13 ½ inches, was the top lot at auction. It surpassed its high estimate of $28,000 to fetch $47,200. The painting featured wonderful color and detail and still bore gallery labels on the back for Klinkhoff in Montreal and Thielsen in London, Ontario.
Franz Johnston’s oil-on-panel rendering, titled The Rampart, Lake of the Woods, measured 13 inches by 10 ½ inches and sold within estimate for $25,960. It was a vibrant and rare example, with strong brushstrokes and content typical of “The Group Impressionism”. Johnston resigned from the “Group of Seven” in 1924 as his style evolved more towards realism.
Categories for the auction included Folk Art, Furniture, Art, Tools, Canadiana, Architectural Objects, Antique Toys, Pottery and Stoneware, and Textiles. Part 2 of the Marty Osler Collections was also featured. Part 1, held in April 2021, was led by a selection of lures, reels and fishing rods, many from Hardy Bros. from England. Part 2 was mainly about canadiana and the decorative arts.
“The folk art turned out to be a huge draw,” said Ben Lennox of Miller & Miller Auctions, Ltd., who added that 23 of the top 30 lots exceeded their high estimates, supported by the high waters set for Canadian and American folk artists. like Edmond Chatigny, Joe Norris, Joseph Sleep, Everett Lewis (Maud Lewis’s husband), Purvis Young and Howard Finster.
“The anticipation and excitement leading up to the sale was evident in strong pre-bidding and electric chatter on social media,” Lennox pointed out. “This chatter continued after the sale as buyers eagerly expressed their joy and pride at being able to obtain items from the Osler collection that can now adorn their own collections of merit. Plans are underway for Part 3.
Here are more highlights from the auction. Internet auctions were facilitated by LiveAuctioneers and the Miller & Miller site (www.MillerandMillerAuctions.com). A total of 554 registered bidders submitted 8,585 bids. Bids by telephone and mail were also accepted.
Sculptures by Edmond Chatigny (Canadian, 1895-1992) included a farm scene sculpture, made in Quebec around 1970, showing a farmer wearing a feathered hat plowing with a pair of oxen, while multiple birds and flowers bordered the field, mounted on a platform base, 19 ½ inches high ( $15,340); and a big bird sculpturemade in Quebec circa 1970, depicting a bird in brown paint with white and green spots, mounted on a 30-inch-high square stool base ($8,260).
A watercolor on paper of a Quebec Village by Marc-Aurèle Fortin (1888-1970), diminutive barely 10 inches by 12 inches (by sight), painted circa 1925, depicting a double-spired church with the hills of Quebec in the background, finished at 9,440 $; while an oil painting on panel of a Fishermen village by Joe Norris (Prospect Harbour, Nova Scotia, circa 1980), featuring the bright colors typical of Norris’ work and in Joe Norris’ original frame with painted flowers, was $12,980.
Outsider Art was led by a large (48 inches by 24 inches) painting on plywood by Purvis Young (1943-2010), of a cityscape often seen in Young’s works, which is in collections like the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American. history and culture ($5,605); and a painting of white daisies on green stems in a brown pot by Jimmy Lee Sudduth (1910-2007), an artist who rarely used brushes, preferring his fingers instead, signed “Jim Sudduth” ($4,425).
Works of art dominated the list of best bundles, but other items also performed well, such as the following:
- An important, large and joyful pewter whirlwind ship of a white ship on blue seas by Quebec artist Ernest Joly, circa 1970, with a ship rocking back and forth as the propeller spins, a captain at the bar, 36 inches by 57 inches (estimate: $2,500 to $3,000).
- An Ontario Adam style corner cabinet dating from around 1835, measuring 84 inches high by 50 inches wide, with a fluted frieze on the cornice and astral glazing on the upper doors. Each upper door had 13 panes; the lower section had two paneled doors above a support base ($5,605).
- A circa 1870 allegorical walking stick or resurrection cane (Abitibi County, Quebec), featuring a classic mix of traditional Aboriginal and Christian imagery such as a twisted serpent, turtle, tree of life, stars, animals, fish, a crucifix and a rooster ($4,130).
Two oil-on-panel paintings by famed “Group of Seven” artist Manly Edward MacDonald (1889-1971) were donated, including Chalet, signed lower left and measuring 11 ½ inches by 15 ½ inches (at sight) ($4,130). Also, a charming oil on board of Everett Lewis (1893-1979), the aforementioned husband of Maud Lewis, showing two oxen with a young girl wearing a yellow sweater and blue skirt, holding a whip, circa 1975, signed and framed ($5,310).
An oil on Masonite painting by maritime folk artist Joe Sleep of a red and yellow bird surrounded by flowers with a yellow house with a green roof in the receding background, titled Yellow House, 22 inch square, signed and dated 1977, made $5,310. Also, an oil on canvas of Niagara Falls from the Upper Bank at the Lighthouse near the Pavilion Hotel, painted by MF Holloway in 1850, 15 ½ inches by 24 ½ inches, sold for $3,540.
Miller & Miller Auctions, Ltd. is Canada’s trusted seller of high value collections and always accepts quality shipments. The company specializes in watches and jewelry, art, antiques and high-value collectibles. Its mission is to provide collectors with a trusted place to buy and sell.