NEW HAMBURG, Ontario, Canada – A uncommon portray by people artist Maud Lewis (1903-1970), traded by a London, Ontario, artist within the Nineteen Seventies to an area goldsmith for a tie tack, just lately offered at public sale for greater than $50,000.
The late artist John Kinnear, a quick dresser, was reeled in by a blue sapphire goldsmith John Ellington had in his Richmond Road store. The 2 males agreed to a commerce: one customized sapphire tie tack for “any portray” Kinnear had on his studio wall down the road.
When the time got here to make the commerce, Ellington shied away from Kinnear’s personal work, which have been interesting however too giant. As a substitute, he set his eyes on the one Maud Lewis on the wall – a small, pleasant portray of a pipe-smoking lobster fisherman. Kinnear initially resisted, saying that was his favourite portray, however Ellington reminded him he’d mentioned “any portray”, so in the long run they fortunately did the swap.
Ellington loved the portray in his residence for roughly 50 years earlier than consigning it with New Hamburg-based Miller & Miller Auctions, the place it offered for greater than $50,000 (together with purchaser’s premium). That is the second Maud Lewis portray obtained via a noteworthy barter association with Kinnear. In Could 2022, Miller & Miller Auctions sold one of Lewis’s paintings, Black Truck, for a record-breaking $350,000. Kinnear had traded that portray to the homeowners of a London restaurant for a couple of grilled cheese lunches.
John Kinnear had struck up a friendship with the Maud Lewis (1901-1970), now thought of considered one of Canada’s most famed people artists and who has since drawn curiosity internationally. Lewis lived in Marshalltown, Nova Scotia and Kinnear was in London, Ontario. In 1965, he’d seen her profiled in The Star Weekly and on CBC-TV and was deeply moved by her poverty and her bodily disabilities. He additionally acknowledged her expertise so he started sending her correct paints and primed Masonite boards. In return, she wrote again and despatched him work, a few of which have been presents and a few of which he offered on her behalf for $24. In her lifetime Lewis by no means offered a portray herself for greater than $10.
The Lobsterman is taken into account a rarity, in line with Alan Deacon, a Nova Scotia-based knowledgeable who’s been learning Maud Lewis for over 50 years. She’s thought of a ‘serial painter’ as a result of she painted the identical topics again and again, however nobody has seen one other portray like The Lobsterman. “It’s additionally uncommon to have such a big determine in a Maud Lewis portray,” says Deacon, “so the rarity and the determine make it a particular portray.”
Kinnear and Lewis maintained their friendship for 5 years, till Lewis died of pneumonia in 1970. It’s estimated she despatched him 40 work throughout that point, lots of which have been offered within the London space.
“I believe it’s secure to surmise Maud had an affection for Kinnear and the work she despatched him have been maybe particular,” says Ethan Miller, co-owner of Miller & Miller Auctions. “It was uncommon for her to correspond with folks, so this was an uncommon state of affairs. This was additionally an uncommon portray, to not point out Kinnear’s favourite.”