Emily Carr, "Indian Village, Alert Bay", 1909, one of Galerie Walter Klinkhoff's 2009 highlights.
It has been for us an exciting and gratifying fall season. We began with our 36th annual non-selling exhibition, this one a tribute to Paul Vanier Beaulieu, an important modern artist, active primarily from the end of World War II until his passing. This display of especially fine paintings, watercolours, and etchings provided sound visual evidence as to why Beaulieu merited celebration in the company of important emerging modern artists as early as the late 1940s, both in France and here in Canada. Then we hosted two outstanding solo exhibitions by active artists we proudly represent, Danielle Lanteigne and Laurie Campbell. Both exhibitions, presentations of quality and originality, were welcomed by our clients and friends.
Clarence Gagnon, "Après la tempête" (After the Storm) ca. 1922
The Canadian art market participated in a phenomenon that is international in scope; selling fine art by private treaty enjoyed significant growth certainly with us and likely with other art dealing galleries as it did at least in markets in Europe, the United Kingdom and North America. The November 28 – December 4 edition of The Economist read: “The recession has made many collectors nervous about offering their treasures at auction, so they are selling them privately.” (The Economist, volume 393, Number 8659, Suspended Animation, a Special report on the art market, pg 6). The uncertain economic climate combined with regard for risk management was one reason for the increase in private treaty sales. Additionally, some sellers studying the alternative of selling at auction have recognized that the auctioneer’s impressive financial aggregate of his sale heavily publicized and distributed by professionally written press releases does not necessarily represent financial success for the individual consignor. Multiple offerings of works by the same artist in the same sale split the buyers’ attention among the over supply. Add the supply coming to the market in the sale where one may consign one’s painting to that which will come to market within the same two or three week season from four or five other auction houses, and any precious notion of scarcity of supply is rapidly eliminated. Knowledgeable market watchers can cite numerous genuinely fine Carrs, Jacksons, Harrises, Hughes, Thomsons and Varleys for example that did not reach their potential, or worse, remained unsold, perhaps simply because there were too many being offered at auction during a brief period of a few weeks in our Canadian market, one which is relatively small. It must be said that the bankruptcy of Ritchie’s auctioneers in Toronto tainted or scarred the lure of auctions for some Canadian art enthusiasts. “Hats off” to Sotheby’s Toronto & New York for taking quick remedial action to protect their consignors. In recognition of the benefits to sellers of fine art, the large international auction houses too have been conspicuously increasing their participation in private treaty sales.
Lilias Torrance Newton (1876-1980), "The Guide Millette", 1939. This important canvas is among the artist's finest paintings and had never been on the market until acquired by Klinkhoff during the fall.
For Galerie Walter Klinkhoff the highlights of the season include any number of truly exquisite works of art including those by Sam Borenstein, Emily Carr, Maurice Cullen, Clarence A. Gagnon, Frank Hennessey, Edwin Holgate, A.Y. Jackson, Cornelius Krieghoff, William Kurelek, John Little, Lilias Torrance Newton, Suzor-Coté, Percy Woodcock, to name only a modest selection. Our enthusiasm and passion is as consistent for the less costly works of art we sell as it is for the most costly. Our inventory is a gallery of vetted works of art. In a discussion a few decades back with a gentleman who introduced himself as a potential new client to the Gallery, I recall Dad saying, “What you buy is your business. What we sell is ours.” His respect for his clients on both sides of the art dealing process accounts for our standard, “advising art collectors for over 50 years” (actually, we are getting close to 60 years of business). The aforementioned implies the gratification beyond or in addition to the works of art we transacted this fall, that being the quality of relationships with collectors, clients and friends that we continued to develop. Not only do we have three generations of the Klinkhoff family here in the Gallery but also in some cases we are advising the third generation of families to deal with us, some as a new generation of buyers and others as sellers of fine works purchased from Mom & Dad even 55 years ago.
Sam Borenstein (1908-1969), "Still Life with Lupins", 1961, one of several outstanding paintings by the Canadian master expressionist to be offered at Klinkhoff in recent months.
Since I have been in this business even working here in the summer back home from college, reading about the better collections of art, almost without exception, they are amassed not only by passionate collectors but also by those who are assisted with the advice of a knowledgeable art dealer to vet the offerings from the perspectives of significance to the specific collection as well as quality and value. To those of you who encourage our advice, it continues to be a pleasure. We welcome confidential inquiries from prospective sellers of important paintings as well as, of course, inquiries from individuals and organizations who are forming collections today. To both buyers and sellers we look forward to being of additional service in 2010.
To all, Happy Holidays!
Alan, on behalf of Mom, Eric, Jon, Johanne, Lynn & John