Canadian Art Market: May 2018
May and November have long been considered to be the most important auction seasons in the Canadian art market. In May 2018, we are thrilled to see a collection of truly exceptional work offered by major Canadian auction houses.
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00. Breakdown
The sell-through rate in the 2018 may auction sale.
The amount of auction lots produced in 2018 by the main four auction houses.
of the artwork’s hammer price were sold below $100k.
The total 2018 May auction sale which is 29% lower  than the total 2017 auction sale.
01. Introduction
An In-Depth Look into the Canadian Auction Market
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Starting from 2015, Canadian secondary art market have experienced a gradual increase of $172 million, up from $414 million in 2015 to $586 million in 2016. A true glimpse at the overall shape of the market was difficult to ascertain. However, with a optimistic performance in May 2018 sale, it proved the Canadian art market to be in a healthy, if cautious, state.
"While the November sale is approaching in four months, we are thrilled to expect more exceptional works in the Canadian art market coming out."
02. May Auction Review
A Look at the Canadian Auction Market in May
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In May, we have analyzed four different auction houses’ events. By segmenting them into different price range with different proportion, we can see that 90% of the artwork’s hammer price is below $100K. So, in every analysis of our auction houses, we would put a further focus on the artwork that was sold below $100K to get a more representative chart of the artwork’s different hammer price.
03. Investment Thesis
Our Recommendations on the Canadian Auction Market
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The key findings of these four auction events during May are that different collectors are suited for different auction houses. For the two best-performed auction houses, Consignor and Waddington, their total sales were above the expected sales. About 40% of their work was overvalued, and 60% of their artwork is between $5 to $50K. Like we mentioned early, they have good quality work that is less in demand which are really well sold. Thus, as a seller, selling your artwork to them is a highly profitable decision.
Auction Date
Nov 6, 2017
Total Sales
$2 906 100
Total Lots
Lots Sold
Sell Through Rate
Avg. Hammer Price
$63 176.09
Avg. Low Estimate
$54 931.75
Avg. High Estimate
$70 914.29
04. Significant Lots
Our handpicked list of overperforming lots
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Paul-Émile Borduas, Untitled
Sourece: National Gallery of Canada
"The most notable sale among the market, is the quintessential work Figures schématiques, by Quebec-born artist Paul- Émile Borduas. The $3,601,250 realized price, have made the record-high for artists, and the third highest realized price work in Heffel’s auction all-time record."
05. Artists to Watch
Our handpicked artists that performed exceptionally
Lawren Harris, Baffin Island; Sam Francis, Basel Mural I; Tom Thomson, The West Wind; Emily Carr, Clearing
Source: wikiart
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Gordon Appelbe Smith

Since 2015 we’ve seen a constant and positive performance of Gordon Appelbe Smith’s work. With highest total turnover of $651,549 in 2016 and second highest turnover of $641,580 in 2017. In 2018, we’ve seen positive performance with only 13% unsold lots and a higher than high estimate performance especially with his Abstraction series ( $109,250 in Heffel May 30, 546% above high estimate, and $42,480, 170% above high estimate).