The new owner of a rare Tom Thomson piece was reading a library book about the Group of Seven when he heard the piece was to be put up for auction.
“I’m probably the least knowledgeable person in this room about art and art history, but I’m learning,” said Tom Budd, adding that he just wanted to make sure the piece stayed in Western Canada.
The painting, dubbed Dawn on Round Lake, depicts a lake near Algonquin Park with a deep blue hill rising up in the background. Part of a private collection, the artwork had not been seen for 94 years according to Doug Levis, owner of Levis Auctions and Appraisals.
Levis expected it to sell for as much as $600,000, but bidding closed yesterday at $350,000.
The original owner had set a reserve price of $400,000. But after Budd’s bid of $350,000 was turned down, he contested the decision arguing that the reserve should have been announced at the start of the bidding.
According to Levis, the fact that all artwork had a set reserve price was made clear at the outset of the auction.
He started the bidding lower, he explained, to get things going and encourage a few more people in the audience to bid.
After discussing the offer with the painting’s original owner, a deal was made and the piece was sold for $350,000 plus a 17 per cent buyers premium and five per cent GST.
Levis original appraisal of between $500,000 and $600,000 was based on the painting’s size and vintage he said, adding that more colourful pieces tend to fetch more in auctions.
Budd said that although he hadn’t intended to purchase the piece at first, he was very satisfied with his decision.
The artwork, he added, was purchased for his private collection although he hopes to donate the piece to an art gallery at some point.