Response to an anonymous writer

In response to my 2009 Autumn Wrap Up an unidentified writer wrote the following critique, which has been paraphrased by an intermediary. The anonymous writer;

…asked why anyone would listen to Alan Klinkhoff’s advice, and cited the gallery’s ‘stable’ as proof that it just sells ‘commercial art’. You won’t build much of a collection filling your home with paintings by Molly Bobak, Richard Montpetit, and Claude A. Simard.

Emily Carrs Indian Village, Alert Bay, 1909.  (Galerie Walter Klinkhoff Photo Files, 2009)

Emily Carr's "Indian Village, Alert Bay", 1909. (Galerie Walter Klinkhoff Photo Files, 2009)

Permit me to respond that I invite this detractor to look at us more closely at where he/she will discover many things about our business, among them a small selection of exceptional sold works most of which are recently sold plus a list of the the 35+ non-selling exhibitions celebrating various artists our gallery has hosted including Kathleen Morris (as early as 1976 when those with a market memory that long will know her work was less than “commercial”). Any number of the artists we have featured in our non-selling, educational exhibitions were only subsequently honored with museum exhibitions; Kathleen Morris, Maurice Cullen, Suzor-Coté, Prudence Heward, Clarence Gagnon, Adrien Hébert, and Arthur Lismer to name a selection. An exhibition of M. A. Fortin is forthcoming. Objective analysis of the facts will show that we were well ahead of the commercial curve, maybe by thirty years or so, on anything related to the Beaver Hall Group women. AY Jackson, Edwin Holgate, Arthur Lismer, M.A. Fortin and Robert Pilot were selling through Galerie Walter Klinkhoff while active when their prices were less than $1,000 a painting! Not many existing art galleries other than Galerie Walter Klinkhoff bought from Paul-Émile Borduas and Léon Bellefleur back in the 1950s! I believe Toronto’s distinguished Roberts Gallery did also. Even fewer galleries were selling the work of Sam Borenstein. Our files are filled with images of outstanding works of art, not only Canadian, sold over the last 60 years at what are by any standard modest prices and well in front of the band wagon: Sisley, Pisarro, Renoir, Laurencin, Dufy, Valadon, Vlaminck, Boudin, Foujita, Krieghoff, J.W. Morrice, Maurice Cullen, Franklin Carmichael, Clarence Gagnon, and Riopelle (from his Paris agent Maeght). From the early 1970s we have press clipping of large and outstanding Lawren Harris canvases purchased at $60,000 , advising collectors to purchase them from us at those “modest” prices.

From left: Walter Klinkhoff with Group of Seven artists Arthur Lismer, Edwin Holgate and AY Jackson at Galerie Walter Klinkhoffs Randolph Hewton retrospective exhibition in October, 1962.

From left: Walter Klinkhoff with Group of Seven artists Arthur Lismer, Edwin Holgate and AY Jackson at Galerie Walter Klinkhoff's Randolph Hewton retrospective exhibition in October, 1962. (Galerie Walter Klinkhoff Photo Files, 1962)

We are proud to represent Chantale Jean, Richard Montpetit, Claude A Simard as well as, for more than 40 years, Joseph Plaskett, Molly Lamb Bobak and John Little, the latter three it seems who are only recently being collected rather aggressively in the secondary market.

Perhaps if we had a much larger space we would show works beyond what we can comfortably exhibit over three floors. However those limitations oblige us to focus on fields and artists of our greatest interest and expertise. Expertise in these areas is increasingly rare. I have quoted my father previously as he said proudly to someone who, like our detractor, did not particularly like what we were showing him: “What you buy is your business. What we sell is ours.”

Exceptional Sold Works
Exhibition & Sale of Claude Simard, May 2009 (Sold Out)

Happy holidays & Merry Christmas

1 Comment

  1. Alan, that is a very beautiful Riopelle in your link, congratulations for acquiring such an important piece.
    Best wishes for the season,
    John and Lynda Shearer


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