Heffel Fine Art Auction House

May 15, 2006 09:00 ET

Heffel Fine Art Auction House: Maud Lewis Paintings Peak in Value 36 Years After Her Death

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(CCNMatthews - May 15, 2006) - For over 30 years of her life, artist Maud Lewis sold her paintings to tourists and locals for $5 to $10 each from her small ten by twelve foot shack in the town of Digby, Nova Scotia. A half century later, in Heffel's fall sale in November 2005, a Maud Lewis painting sold for more than $10,000 for the first time, setting a record for her work. In fact all three paintings exceeded estimates, each selling for more than $10,000. In Heffel's upcoming live Spring auction in Vancouver, B.C. on May 25, 2006, three more Maud Lewis paintings will be up for bids.

"Since Maud Lewis's passing in 1970, her paintings were largely collected by folk art enthusiasts," says David Heffel, President, Heffel Fine Art Auction House. "Over the past four or five years, Heffel Fine Art Auction House has helped bring her work to a wider, international audience, and the prices have followed."

The Heffels started including Maud Lewis's colorful paintings in their semi-annual sales catalogues next to the likes of Canada's biggest fine art stars: Emily Carr, Lawren Harris, A.Y. Jackson and Cornelius Krieghoff. Maud Lewis paintings steadily rose in value.

At a young age, Maud Lewis suffered from polio and was left with crippled arms and deformed hands. Despite her limited physical mobility, she could paint to support her meager existence.

Most Maud Lewis' paintings are quite small - eight by ten inches. Her technique consisted of first drawing an outline, and then applying paint directly out of the tube. Maud's paintings depicted scenes of the traditional rural life in Nova Scotia, with images of ships, flowers, cats, deer, birds, teams of oxen and sleigh rides.

After she was featured on CBC-TV's "Telescope" program in 1965, she received requests from all over North America for her artwork. One such request was from former U.S. President Richard Nixon. After receiving his letter on official White House Seal stationary, Maud wrote back, "You have to send the money first." Nixon bought two of her pictures.

Details and colour images of the Maud Lewis paintings can be reviewed at www.heffel.com. A larger selection of Maud Lewis's paintings will be available in Heffel's on line sale in July 2006. For the first time the Heffel's have devoted a sale exclusively to Canadian folk art, featuring more than a dozen paintings by Maud Lewis.

Heffel Fine Art Auction House is the premier venue to offer important fine art for sale. The Heffels continued their tradition of market leadership with a record total of $12.5 million in the live November 2005 Canadian art auction in Toronto. The Heffels have the most experienced team of fine art specialists in the business, providing customers with the best opportunity for maximizing the value of their works.

The Heffel's next live auction is set for 7:00 pm, Thursday, May 25, 2006 at the Sheraton Wall Centre Hotel in Vancouver.

Two visuals cleared for use:

Maud Lewis photograph:


Painting: Bringing Home the Christmas Tree - Heffel Auction May 25, 2006 - Lot 172


Contact Information

  • Peak Communicators (for Heffel Fine Art Auction House)
    Ross Sullivan
    (604) 689-5559 or Cell: (604) 802-7139