NEW HAMBURG, Ontario, Canada – Six original oil on board paintings by renowned Canadian folk artist Maud Lewis (1903-1970) are expected headliners in Miller & Miller Auctions, Ltd.’s online-only Canadiana & Folk Art auction slated for Saturday, February 11th, beginning at 9 am Eastern time. Nearly 300 lots in a wide array of popular collecting categories will be offered.
Miller & Miller Auctions, Ltd. is no stranger to Maud Lewis. Her work has been featured in several past sales, including one held in October 2022, in which eleven paintings by the artist sailed past their high estimates to bring a combined $559,510. The top lot was Winter Sleigh Ride (est. $20,000-$25,000); it finished at $100,300. All prices quoted are in Canadian dollars.
Five of the paintings in the February 11th auction all carry estimates of $25,000-$30,000. The first, lot 263, is titled Oxen in Winter, a 12 inch by 14 inch serial image that spans three decades. It depicts a pair of oxen, whose eyelashes open directly at the viewer, flanked with conifers. The signed painting comes with an audio file of an interview with the original owner and purchaser.
The second, lot 264, is another serial image, titled Horse Pulling Logs, artist signed and large at 14 ¼ inches by 16 ½ inches (sight, less frame). Maud embellishes a chocolate brown Clydesdale or Percheron, with logs loaded onto a bobsled (a favorite subject of the artist), depicted on a cold winter day. This painting also comes with an audio file of an interview with the original owner.
Lot 265 is titled The Three Black Cats, a serial image only found in the mid-to-late 1960s. This one was likely painted in 1966. The happiness that Lewis conveys with this painting is immense. There is no room for anything but a proud mother and her kittens, all with wide bright eyes, in a setting surmounted with cherry blossoms. The 12 inch by 12 ½ inch (sight) work is artist signed.
Lot 266 is a 1955 serial painting, 12 inches by 14 inches, titled Covered Bridge. The composition features three sleighs, two of which are in Lewis’s favored color of red, plus prominent snow-laden evergreen trees and a novel covered bridge. It’s rare because pink is used rather than blue for shadowing. It’s signed lower right and marked on the reverse, "Helen Perry, Stayner 1966".
Lot 267 is a vibrant Spring Scene, a relatively rare, 12 inch by 14 inch serial image that spans at least two decades. It’s a perfectly balanced and brilliantly filled painting, one featuring ox, spring flowers, flowering fruit trees, farm buildings, roads and paths, hills on the horizon and clouds highlighted by a slight blue sky. It’s signed lower right "Maud Lewis" and is in good condition.
Lot 262 is an 11 ¼ inch by 15 inch Sandy Cove harbor scene by Lewis that carries a slightly more modest estimate ($18,000-$23,000). The serial image features Sandy Cove along Digby Neck in full season – a rare example of a Lewis painting with a named location, showing multi-colored houses, autumn tree colors, blue water and seagulls along with a boat and green hills.
Lot 261 is a watercolor and pen on paper harbor scene, folded in quarters into a card. Within is a handwritten letter from Ms. Lewis to Eva Gray, a teacher, cousin and good friend of the artist. In the letter, Maud comments on weather, illness and the cost of living. The 4 inch by 5 inch piece (8 inches by 10 inches unfolded) is signed, “Maud XXX”. It should command $12,000-$15,000.
The rest of the auction is loaded with scarce items that include advertising signs, art, art pottery, Canadiana, clocks, decoys, folk art, lamps and lighting, pottery and stoneware, rugs and more. Internet bidding will be thru the Miller & Miller website (www.MillerandMillerAuctions.com), plus the very popular LiveAuctioneers.com. Telephone and absentee bids will also be accepted.
A scarce, 11-inch-tall, four-gallon stoneware crock made circa 1870 by G. I. Lazier (Picton, Ontario), fresh to the market and desirable because very few examples of decorated stoneware featuring animals such as horses and cattle exist, has an estimate of $12,000-$15,000. Also, an earthenware lion door stop by W. B. Schuler (Tavistock, Ontario, circa 1878-1885), measuring 6 inches tall by 10 inches wide, incised underneath, “W.B.S. A 1”, should make $3,000-$3,500.
An exceptional Waterloo County (Ontario) two-piece corner cupboard with six lights per door in the upper section and three drawers above two doors in the lower section, with original muted red and amber paint, 84 ½ inches tall by 65 ¾ inches wide, is expected to fetch $6,000-$9,000; while a large, one-piece glazed corner cupboard, probably American and made of pine around 1820, impressive at 89 inches tall by 54 ½ inches wide, carries an estimate of $1,500-$3,500.
An exceptional and large oil on board painting by Joe Sleep, done in 1976 and featuring carnival rides and a portrait of a cat (two of Sleep’s favorite subjects), 52 ¾ inches by 53 inches, signed and dated lower right, should ring up $5,000-$8,000. Also, an oil on canvas painting depicting an October 1858 race during the Royal Canadian Yacht Club Regatta’s inaugural year, by Canada’s own Robert R. Whale, 27 inches by 35 inches, signed, is estimated to rise to $4,000-$6,000.
Two paintings by Joe Norris of Lower Prospect, Nova Scotia are expected to do well. One is a 1991 enamel on board composition of A Schooner Taking Shelter from the Storm, 19 ½ inches by 23 ½ inches (sight, less frame), signed and titled (est. $9,000-$12,000). The other is an oil on canvas painting titled The Lighthouse and Three Schooners, with lobster boats and fishermen on shore, signed lower right and large at 39 inches by 59 inches (sight) (est. CA$8,000-$12,000).
Two intriguing and attractive lots have identical estimates of $3,000-$5,000. One is a circa 1970 softwood birdhouse collage by Edmond Chatigny, consisting of a double-ended birdhouse with gable roof, displaying the flag of Italy, 35 inches by 29 inches. Small birds are on each side of the roof and the platform is covered with stylized plants and flowers. The other is a nicely embossed clear Beehive pint jar with an aqua lid, Canadian, clean, just shy of six inches tall.
Rounding out just some of the auction’s expected top performers is a rare and early figural trade sign for the watchmaker George Hess (Zurich, Huron Cty., Ontario, circa 1860), made from iron and wood, 8 inches by 34 ½ inches (est. $3,500-$5,000); and a late 20th century paint and mud on board portrait of a Girl with Yellow Hat by Louisiana Outsider Master Jimmy Lee Sudduth. The graphically strong work is signed and measures 24 ½ inches by 24 inches (est. $2,000-$3,000).
While this is an Internet-only auction, with no in-person event to attend, bidders can tune in to the live webcast on Saturday, February 11th, to watch the lots close in real time. Here’s a link to the auction: https://live.millerandmillerauctions.com/auctions/4-80ORE2/canadiana-folk-art.
Miller & Miller Auctions, Ltd. is Canada’s trusted seller of high-value collections and is always accepting quality consignments. The firm specializes in watches and jewelry, art, antiques and high-value collectibles. Its mission is to provide collectors with a trusted place to buy and sell.
Miller & Miller Auctions, Ltd.
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New Hamburg, Canada