Maud Lewis painting once traded for a grilled cheese sandwich sells for $350,000

The price of a 13″ x 11″ black truck in 1967 shocked the art world.Miller Miller Auctions Ltd

A Maud Lewis painting just sold for $350,000 at auction. That’s a lot of cheese.

Price for 13″ x 11″ black truck Shocking the art world since 1967, it sold for 10 times its top pre-sale estimate and shattered a previous record for a painting by a beloved Nova Scotia folk artist, who sold it in 1970 Died at the age of 67, relatively unknown. The previous high for a Lewis work was $67,250 (including the 18% premium paid to the auction house).total amount paid black truckplus buyer’s premium, up to $413,000.

What is the reason for the jackpot price? The auctioneer has a surprising answer:

“Grilled cheese sandwiches,” said Ethan Miller, CEO of Miller and Miller Auctions Ltd. in New Burger, Ontario. “The biggest misconception is that people buy art because it’s a visual object, and that’s how the story ends. But that’s not the case, especially with a heroine like Maud Lewis.”

this black truck Rumors that have drawn international attention are that the painting was exchanged for a grilled cheese sandwich nearly 50 years ago. In the 1970s, Irene and Tony Demas owned and operated The Villa restaurant in London, Ontario. Two of the regulars were John Kinnear and his wife Audrey. The late Kinnear, a British painter, ordered a daily lunch of Irene Demas’ grilled cheese. He often trades his paintings for food.

In addition to her love of fried bread and cheddar, Kinnear was a champion of Lewis, a little woman who never had two pennies to rub together, and even when she did, her arthritis-distorted fingers Also may not be up to the task. Kinnear would send Lewis paint and prepared planks; in return, Lewis would send back the paintings he was going to sell her. In Nova Scotia, Lewis sold her paintings on the roadside near the cramped, unmodern cottage she shares with her scrawny husband. She might get $10 each. In Ontario, Kinnear can be double or triple that price.

One day in 1973, Kinnear brought six selections by Lewis to the spatula-wielding Demas. She was not impressed.

“I thought someone was kidding me,” DeMars told The Globe and Mail after last weekend’s auction. “The paintings appear to have been made by a child.”

Lewis’ colorful depictions of rural Nova Scotia truly capture a childlike sense of well-being and innocence. Cats and upbeat winter scenes are often involved.Looking at the paintings supported by glassware on the dining room table, Demas decides black truck, a brief description of a person driving a practical motor vehicle of his choice. “It just made me smile,” she said.

Three hundred and fifty thousand dollars passed, and she was still smiling.

Three handwritten letters from Lewis to Kinnear, also owned by Erin and Tony, sold for $70,000 (including a buyer’s premium of $82,600), well above their $5,000 estimate. While Demas’ windfall was a surprise, prices for Lewis’s work have been climbing steadily of late. The Lewis market is so hot in Smiths Bay that last year a pair of Lewis paintings were stolen from a seaside cottage. An appraiser valued the works at about $80,000.

2016 Biographical Drama ModiThe film starring Sally Hawkins as Lewis caught the painter’s attention. A recent exhibition of her work curated at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Kleinburg, Ontario, has further sparked interest in Canada.

Black truck sellers Irene and Tony Demas have sold a painting by Maud Lewis for $350,000 at auction.Jon Dunford/Miller & Miller Auctions Ltd

“That exhibition was very well organized,” said Alan Deacon, a Lewis expert in Nova Scotia. “It’s not all mess.” The exhibition has been traveling since it opened at McMichael Gallery in 2019, and will be at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria this summer.

Deacon knew Lewis. In 1968, he visited her and bought a cow painted in winter. “It was still wet,” he recalled. “It’s $10, you can’t bargain.”

The auction price is black truck Was haggled and then some. Multiple bidders quickly pushed the price as high as $100,000, but most participants pulled out at $150,000. The tough move after $250,000 is just between a pair of passionate hopefuls. An overlord bid that jumped the price from $330,000 to $350,000 closed the deal.

Miller said the unidentified winning bidder was not a Lewis collector but had recently read black truck Who watched the Lewis biopic the night before the auction. Buyers were inspired by Lewis and saw the painting’s story and the simpler grilled cheese deal as symbols needed today.

“He told me he saw the painting as a juxtaposition of the way he had seen the world over the past two years, and he thought it was an example of what the world should be like from today,” Miller said. “He wanted to throw the darkness behind him. Behind him. This is what he told me he saw black truck – Bright and optimistic. “

Sellers understand the emotions of buyers. “There’s something magical about the painting,” said Demas, now retired. “My husband and I loved it and looked after it for 50 years, but we won’t live another 50 years. We’re happy black truck is a good place. “

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