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Fine Art Auction - Northern American Style

Feb 1, 2008
Writer John Rushkin once said, "Fine art is that in which the hand, the head, and the heart of man go together." There are few things more breathtaking than a well-composed painting - one where all the right colors, brush strokes and open space just dazzle the eyes and capture the imagination. A fine art auction is a great way to buy and sell fine art.

Despite the credit crisis, most purchasers who attend a fine art auction, aren't affected by the middle class squeeze or imploding housing market, as 6,000 to 7,000 eager bidders appeared at many of the fine art auctions this year. British abstractionist John Cecil Stephenson and American graffiti artist Shepard Fairey are expected to sell very well at prices from 7,500 British pounds to 150,000 pounds.

A recent Christie's art auction in New York City reeled in close to $395 million in net gains, despite having not sold a few of the reserves. Big sellers included Matisse's "L'Odalisque, harmonie bleu" (1937) which went for a record $33.6 million dollars, following a bidding war. Also, Pablo Picasso's "Femme accroupie au costume turc (Jacqueline)," painted in 1955, sold for $30.8 million dollars and his "Homme a la pipe" reached $16.8 million.

"The enduring importance of works of art as a stable and consistent store of cultural and economic values was demonstrated in tonight's dazzling sale," said Marc Porter, the head of Christie's America. Hence proving that to buy original art, as an investment, is alive and well.

Similarly, the Canadian art auction set for November 23, 2007 is expected to draw a large crowd and record breaking sales. There were encouraging signs at Heffel's fine art auction last May: a Lawren Harris painting ("Pine Tree and Red House") sold for $2.85 million, an Emily Carr fetched for $1 million, and the total sales reached $22.8 Million, which nearly doubled the previous Canadian record!

At the next auction, Heffel will be selling 19 other works by Lawren Harris and 8 rare pieces done in 1912 by Emily Carr, in addition to seven Tom Thomsons, three E.J. Hugheses, five Maurice Cullens, four Jean-Paul Riopelles, seven Frederick Varleys and eight A.J. Cassons.

Just this November, a woman discovered that a painting she had salvaged from her grandmother's estate sale decades earlier, was actually a rare Tom Thomson estimated at $250,000 to $350,000! This artwork will also be featured at the auction. The Heffel auction hopes to fetch $13 million to $18 million for its 236 lots.

Although 2007 hasn't been a particularly wonderful year for real estate or the economy, many lovers still find ways of financing their art collecting hobby. This is great news for auction houses and artists alike! That perfect piece may be waiting at a fine art auction, whether it be a portrait of Native Americans by Emily Carr or a Matisse abstract.
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