Art collectors will have a chance to bid on works by the Group of Seven’s A.Y. Jackson as the Art Gallery of Ontario culls its collection to make room for under-represented artists.
The Heffel Fine Art Auction House estimates the selection of paintings and oil sketches will fetch a total of more than $660,000, with 17 canvases set to go up for sale this spring.
The profits from the deaccessioned works will go toward purchasing new acquisitions with the aim of diversifying its Indigenous and Canadian collection, an AGO spokeswoman said.
“One of the AGO’s key collecting priorities is to buy works by artists who have traditionally been under-represented in art museums, allowing us to redress historical gaps and better reflect the people who live here,” Caitlin Coull said in an e-mail.
Art collections are “dynamic” and need to be refined over time Julian Cox, AGO deputy director and chief curator, said in a statement.
The AGO boasts an extensive collection of works by the Group of Seven, and will continue to hold a robust representation of Jackson’s career as a landscape artist, Cox said. For every Jackson piece slated for sale, a comparable work will remain in the AGO’s holdings, according to the statement.
“We are most honoured to … assist with the thoughtful divestment of these very special Jackson paintings,” David Heffel, president of Heffel Fine Art Auction House, said in a statement.
“This is a unique opportunity for passionate collectors to bring home a piece of Canadian history.”
The Jackson paintings will be offered in a series of auctions kicking off with Heffel’s online and live sales in May.
Among the highlights are Laurentian Hills, a winter scene valued between $250,000 and $350,000.
The works will be previewed prior to Heffel’s spring live auction on May 29.