'Vent du nord,' Canada's second most expensive artwork, sells for over $7.4M

TORONTO – A painting by the late Quebec artist Jean Paul Riopelle sold for more than $7.4 million on Wednesday, good for second on the list of Canada’s most expensive works of art.

Going into the Heffel Fine Art Auction House’s spring sale, the painting “Vent du nord” had a conservative pre-sale estimate of $1 million to $1.5 million.

The final sale price of $7,438,750, which includes a buyer’s premium, trails only Lawren Harris’s “Mountain Forms.” That painting sold at a Heffel auction in November for $11.21 million, more than doubling the previous Canadian art record established in 2002 for Paul Kane’s 1845 oil canvas “Scene in the Northwest – Portrait.”

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“Vent du nord,” which adorned the cover of the auction’s catalogue, was described by Heffel as providing “endless adventures for the eye.”

“Historically, Riopelle is important because his work was a focal point for debates about the increasingly wide and fractious gap between post-World War II European and American abstract painting,” reads the Heffel auction catalogue. “In Europe and the U.S.A., he was seen as much as a French and specifically a Parisian artist as Canadian.”

Six other works by Harris were set to go on the auction block Wednesday evening, including two sketches with pre-sale estimates of between $600,000 and $800,000.

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© 2017 The Canadian Press

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