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Previously unknown work by Ukrainian-Canadian artist William Kurelek to be offered at Consignor auction

Posted on November 5, 2014 at 5:53 pm


Previously unknown work by Ukrainian-Canadian artist William Kurelek
to be offered at Consignor auction

Valuable painting discovered at Consignor Canadian Fine Art’s appraisal day
will be included in online auction on November 19 – 28

(Toronto ­– November 5, 2014) – A recent Consignor Canadian Fine Art public appraisal day led to a surprising discovery for one art owner who learned she owned a painting by renowned Ukrainian-Canadian artist William Kurelek. The newly discovered painting—titled Ukrainian Proverb—is to be offered along with more than 130 other works at Consignor’s Fall Auction of Important Canadian Art from November 19 – 28, 2014.

The 10” X 4.5” inch painting encased in the artist’s handmade frame, depicts a charming scene of a child trying (and failing) to catch two rabbits in the snow. Such scenes, capturing winter life on the Canadian prairies, have proved to be some of Kurelek’s most popular, harkening to the artist’s childhood memories of being raised on a Manitoba farm. Ukrainian Proverb is expected to fetch between $15,000 and $20,000 at auction.

“Our appraisal ‘roadshows’ have led to many surprising discoveries for individuals across the country curious to know the value of a work of art they owned,” said Rob Cowley, President of Consignor Canadian Fine Art. “We’re thrilled to help bring this important part of Canadian art history to auction for the first time. Kurelek’s work has been extremely popular during the past decade, routinely fetching values above expectation.”

The painting was inherited from the owner’s parents, who were introduced to a local artist while visiting a neighbour. They had brought some apple strudel to share, and when the artist declared it was “as good or better” than his mother’s, the couple happily gave him a basket full of the pastries. A few days later, the artist returned with a painting (Ukrainian Proverb) as a token to reciprocate the kind gesture. The painting has since been passed down and displayed in the family’s home in Etobicoke, ON, and it wasn’t until years later when the owner brought the painting to Consignor’s appraisal day that it was discovered to be an unknown work by William Kurelek.

Consignor will be holding an open house, November 19-21, inviting the public to bring in works of art for mini-consultations and verbal auction valuations. Additionally, the open house will offer a preview of upcoming works featured in Consignor’s fall auction.

Other highlights from Consignor’s Fall Auction of Important Canadian Art include a rare 1935 canvas still life by renowned Canadian painter David Milne. Hepaticas in a Cup (valued at $125,000-175,000) will be offered at auction for the first time, a painting that was once praised by the artist himself as being a fine achievement and among one of his best works. Considered his “Spring Fever” painting of 1935, Hepaticas captures the artist’s excitement for the season and is a testament to his great skill as a painter.

The November auction will also offer up notable works of art by celebrated historical and post-war Canadian artists such as A.J. Casson, Arthur Lismer, Franz Johnston, Emily Carr, P.C. Sheppard, Kathleen Morris, Nora Collyer, Robert Pilot, Jean Paul Riopelle, Jean McEwen, Jack Shadbolt, Harold Town, Sorel Etrog, Kathleen Morris, Sybil Andrews, W.J. Phillips, Otto Rogers, Dorothy Knowles, Gordon Applebe Smith, Maud Lewis, Ted Harrison, Robert Bateman, Joe Fafard, Doris McCarthy, David Blackwood, among others.

Media Note: High-resolution images of artwork featured in the fall auction catalogue are also available to media upon request. Consignor’s semi-annual fall auction can be viewed in its entirety at

A print catalogue featuring the majority of lots on offer is available for sale, and live previews will be held from November 3–28 at the Consignor Canadian Fine Art Gallery located at 326 Dundas Street West.

Since its inception in 2013, Consignor Canadian Fine Art has broken Canadian art auction records. In May 2014, the Spring Auction of Important Canadian Art saw two works from renowned Canadian artist Jack Bush sell for $310,500 and $299,999, the highest value ever paid in an online auction for Canadian works of art. Consignor’s June 2014 Auction of Canadian & International Contemporary Art also saw eight artists’ records broken.

Previous Consignor Canadian Fine Art auctions have included paintings by Tom Thomson, Maud Lewis, Joe Fafard and A.J. Casson and attracted international buyers from across Canada, the United States and Asia.

Consignor Canadian Fine Art is a partnership between art auction veterans Rob Cowley, Lydia Abbott and Ryan Mayberry (Partner at Mayberry Fine Art and Founder of Cowley and Abbott became principals in the new venture with Ryan Mayberry, taking from its original form, as a branch of Mayberry Fine Art, to a separate company focusing on auctions of Canadian art.

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Media Contacts:

Tran Nguyen

Andrea McLoughlin