Canadian market still pocket-change when compared to the Klimts and Picassos of the world  

There is little doubt that the Canadian art market is on a roll right now, and with seasonal figures of $25 million plus starting to become common place one might be forgiven for gloating over the incredible performance of this market over the past ten years. But before we get too carried away with ourselves and the magnificence of our market, and the huge values put on small sketches, it might serve us well to put the whole thing into a global perspective. A single painting, Gustav Klimt’s Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer (illustrated right) set a new world record price for a painting when it sold this past June for $135 million. Pablo Picasso’s portrait of Dora Maar au chat sold for $95.2 million US in May, and Christie’s, New York, set a world record for an auction sale in November when they sold for a total of $491.5 million US, a sale that included four Klimts that grossed $192.7 million.


So yes, the Canadian market is strong, and yes, $1.5 million for a mountain sketch is high, but it still remains pocket-change when put up against the world’s best. But don’t beat yourself up, ours is a great market, with great work, and climbing prices, and who knows, there might be a Klimt or Picasso lurking somewhere out there even now, slapping paint on canvas eager to capture the rugged grandeur of the Canadian landscape in a manner that will take the world by storm like no one before. Then again...!

! An important auction of Canadian & International Works of Art to be held Sunday, March 29th at Westbridge Fine Art Auction House, Vancouver, B.C.

Please also view our sister sites at and for their current, ongoing online auctions!



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