Lawren Harris painting bought for $5 heads to block in N.Z.

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Lawren Harris painting bought for $5 heads to block in N.Z.

Postby rekha2010 » Wed Nov 17, 2010 5:13 am

A painting believed to be by leading Group of Seven artist Lawren Harris — picked up for $5 at an estate sale in New Zealand — goes to auction Monday and is expected to fetch tens of thousands of dollars.

“It is impossible to put a market value on such a painting in the New Zealand market,” said Grant Bezett, director of Fine Art Society New Zealand. “All we can do is infer its value in New Zealand from its potential value in Canada.”

The painting is unsigned, but Bezett said in a news release it is consistent with Harris’ style and subject matter. He expects it will fetch between $20,000 and $50,000.

“The work is an ‘en plein-air’ sketch of a river scene. Technically and artistically it is very competent and confident,” said Bezett. “It is completely original including the frame so I’m very confident about its provenance.

He said the owner of the painting — a woman who wishes to remain anonymous — picked it up earlier this year in the town of Northland.

He said she was told at the time that the landscape was from the estate of a Canadian who moved the New Zealand from Ontario. She received it as a wedding gift.

A label on the frame states that it was framed at Stedman’s Book Store in Brantford, Ont. Harris lived in Brantford.

As his career progressed, Harris stopped signing his works, hoping people would appreciate his works on their merits rather than by his name.

Earlier this year, a Harris painting sold for $730,000, well beyond the expected price of $300,000 to $500,000.

“I’m as sure as I can be from the research I’ve done that this is one of his paintings,” said Bezett. “I am not an expert on Harris but I know something about art and I’ve done my research.

“However we are selling into an educated market and it is possible that there will be interest from Canadian buyers if they come to hear of it.”
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