From the archives: Walter Klinkhoff paid a mere $75,000 for Harris art

He paid “mere $75,000” for Harris Art
The Montreal Star – Tuesday, October 29, 1974

Walter Klinkhoff thinks he got a great deal.

At two art auctions in the past eights days, one in Toronto and one in Montreal, the Montreal art dealer picked up two Lawren Harris oil paintings for a mere $75,000.

Walter Klinkhoff with two Lawren Harris paintings, Oct 29, 1974

Walter Klinkhoff holds the two Lawren Harris paintings he picked up for a total of $75,000 at art auction in Toronto and Montreal in the past week.

At the Toronto sale he bought “Lake Superior, North Shore”, number nine, for $45,000 – an all time record for a Canadian painting sold at auction.

Three days later, at an auction at the Ritz Carlton he bought “Grey Day, North Shore, Lake Superior”, for $30,000.

He calls it a deal because he was ready to pay $65,000 for each of them.

“I wouldn’t have hesitated to pay it” said Klinkhoff, adding that he was surprised the paintings sold for such a “low price”.

Harris was undoubtedly one of the greatest Canadian painters. One would have to rank him only after Tom Thomson and A.Y. Jackson at his best.

Harris and Jackson were members of the Group of Seven school of painters, who painted in a distinctively Canadian style. Thomson, who died in 1917 and never actually belonged to the Group, is considered its founding spirit. Harris died in 1970.

Both paintings were sold from the collection of John A. MacAulay, a Winnipeg lawyer who has the finest private collection of Canadian art anywhere, according to Klinkhoff.

They are the best examples of Harris’ work to appear on the open market for many years, he said.

Klinkhoff, who operates a gallery at 1200 Sherbrooke St. W., said he expects the value of all such work to rise steadily because “Canadian painting is being collected voraciously from east to west”.

He was not acting for a private collector when he bought the Harris paintings, but has “several customers” he plans to contact about buying them.

The price? He’ll let them go for less than $65,000 each


From left to right: Alan examining a painting with Gertrude and Walter Klinkhoff in March, 1986

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