Timeline

1978
 
 

Kenneth G. Heffel
Industrialist and art collector Kenneth G. Heffel founded Kenneth G. Heffel Fine Art Inc. in a former Royal Bank of Canada heritage building on Granville Street in South Granville’s gallery row. Charismatic Kenneth Heffel became known for buying and selling the finest works of art by Canada’s pre-eminent artists.

1980
 
   
A pivotal exhibition of the Fannin Hall Collection, The Group of Seven and Their Contemporaries, took place from February 29 to March 22. The show was of museum quality, with numerous works considered to be national treasures. During the 1980s, several exhibitions of the Group of Seven and their Contemporaries took place.

1981
 
   
Kenneth Heffel made headlines when he acquired Lawren Harris’s Arctic canvas South Shore, Baffin Island for a record price of $240,000. At the time, it was the most valuable painting to sell at auction in Canada.

Two Claude Monet waterlilies paintings, Nympheas and Nenuphars, were exhibited at the gallery.

Exhibition: Victor Vasarely, paintings, April 9 - 25.

During the 1980s, international artists such as American abstract painters Dan Christiansen, Larry Zox and Dan Christensen, as well as the sculpture of Antoniucci Volti were shown.

1987
 
   
After nearly a decade in the fine art business, Kenneth Heffel passed away, and sons David, then 25 and Robert, 23, carried on the family business.

1987 ~ 1995
 
   
David and Robert Heffel established Heffel Gallery Limited in 1987. From 1987 to 1995 they held numerous successful exhibitions of important artists such as David Alexander, B.C. Binning, Emily Carr, Lawren Harris, W.J. Phillips, Heike Ruschmeyer, W.P. Weston, Peter Aspell, David Blackwood, Alex Colville, E.J. Hughes, Jack Humphrey, Jean McEwen, Guido Molinari, Toni Onley, Tony Scherman and Claude Tousignant, to name a few of many.

1989
 
   
Exhibition: Alex Colville, paintings and preparatory drawings for important paintings.
Exhibition: Guido Molinari: Four Decades of Art, paintings.

1990
 
   
Exhibition: E.J. Hughes: Paintings, Drawings and Watercolours, November 3 – 29.

1991
 
   
Exhibition: W.P. Weston, paintings,watercolours and drawings.

1992
 
   
Exhibition: Heike Ruschmeyer: Berlin ’92, September 19 - October 10, paintings.
Exhibition: Joe Andoe: New Work, November 12 – December 12.

1994
 
   
Exhibition: Fine Examples: Emily Carr, Lawren Harris and Walter J. Phillips, September 17 – October 1.

1995
 
   
Heffel Fine Art Auction House, a division of Heffel Gallery Limited, was established. A goal was set to attain a $1,000,000 dollar value sale within five years, and it was achieved in this first sale.

1999
 
   
Heffel applied the innovations of Internet technology to the art business, and in September, launched Heffel.com Online Auctions.

Exhibition: Jack Weldon Humphrey, Paintings of the Thirties and Forties, July 17 – 31.

Heffel began holding their live ballroom auctions semi-annually in both the spring and the fall.

2000
 
 

Emily Carr
War Canoes, Alert Bay
In Heffel’s Spring Live Auction, Emily Carr’s important canvas War Canoes was sold for $1,018,750. The most valuable work to be sold at auction in Canada that year, the painting set a record price for the artist, as well as being the most valuable painting by a Canadian female artist to be sold at auction.

David and Robert Heffel were selected for Business in Vancouver's 40 Under 40, an annual list of 40 people under 40 years old who have achieved success in business.

2002
 
 

Toronto Gallery
Expansion took place to Eastern Canada. An office was established in Ottawa and a Toronto gallery opened at 13 Hazelton Avenue in Yorkville, as part of Heffel’s strategy to position itself as a national auction house.

Heffel began previewing the live auction artwork in the newly opened Toronto gallery, in addition to the Vancouver auction preview.

2003
 
   
Heffel was a finalist in Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year awards in the Media and Entertainment category.

In November, Heffel held their first live auction in Toronto. Since 2003 Heffel has divided their live auctions between Vancouver and Toronto, with the spring sale taking place in Vancouver and the fall sale taking place in Toronto.

2004
 
 

Edward John (E.J.) Hughes
Fishboats, Rivers Inlet
Heffel emerged as the leading auction house in Canada. In the May live sale in Vancouver, Emily Carr’s sublime canvas Quiet sold for a record price of $1,121,250, breaking Heffel’s previous record for a Carr painting. Along with breaking the E.J. Hughes auction record with the painting Fishboats, Rivers Inlet, which sold for $920,000, Heffel’s $8.4 million dollar November auction in Toronto also broke the record for the highest dollar value fine art auction in Canada.

Since 2004, Heffel has remained in the top spot, dominating the Canadian art market.

2005
 
 

Maurice Galbraith Cullen
The Bird Shop, St. Lawrence Street
In January, Heffel opened a gallery in Montreal on Sherbrooke Street, further expanding their national presence.

Heffel began previewing the live auction artwork in the newly opened Montreal gallery, in addition to the Vancouver and Toronto auction previews.

Heffel’s $12.4 million dollar fall auction on November 24 in Toronto shattered their previous record for the largest dollar value auction held in Canada. It also broke the auction record for Maurice Cullen – the stunning canvas The Bird Shop, St. Lawrence Street sold for $1,495,000, tripling Cullen’s previous record.

2006
 
 

Lawren Stewart Harris
Mount Lefroy
Lawren Harris’s iconic oil sketch Mount Lefroy, estimated at $200,000 – 250,000, sold for $1,667,500. Throughout 2006, records continued to fall, and in the November Live Auction, Il était une fois une ville, the most valuable Jean-Paul Riopelle painting to be offered at auction in Canada, was sold for $1,667,500.

April’s International Online Auction was the first online sale to achieve over one million dollars, with a total of 1.4 million.

Heffel co-sponsored the National Gallery of Canada exhibition Emily Carr: New Perspectives on a Canadian Icon, which traveled in 2006 – 2008 to the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and the Glenbow Museum, Calgary.

2007
 
 

Robert and David Heffel with their Mother Marjorie, May 2007
The sale total for the April online auction of international art was $2,445,015, a record for Heffel’s online auctions, and was the largest sale of fine art on the internet in Canadian history. On May 23, Heffel surpassed the previous record for the highest grossing auction in Canada, (a record they held), with a $23 million dollar auction. That evening, four lots exceeded one million dollars. Lawren Harris’s spectacular painting, Pine Tree and Red House, Winter, City Painting II, sold for $2,875,000, a record for the artist. The fall live sale achieved over $20.1 million dollars. During this year Heffel sold nine of the ten paintings that sold for over $1 million dollars in Canada, and sold over $50 million in live and online auctions. To date, no other fine art auction house in Canada has come close to this annual sales total.

April’s International Online Auction achieved an online record for total sales of $2,417,127. During this sale, Zao Wou-Ki’s oil on canvas work 5.11.62 sold for $718,750 CDN, the highest-priced work to sell at Heffel online.

Expansion took place in Western Canada when a Calgary office was opened.

2008
 
   
Heffel divided their live auction into two sessions: Canadian Post-War & Contemporary art and Fine Canadian Art (primarily Group of Seven and their contemporaries and Canadian Impressionists) - referencing the thematic divisions of global art sales, with each session having its own catalogue.

Despite the financial crisis, Heffel’s inaugural sale of Post-War & Contemporary Art was very successful, and once again confirmed Heffel as an innovator in the Canadian art market. Heffel remains dedicated to developing the secondary auction market in Canadian Post-War and Contemporary Art.

Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year awards chose Heffel as a finalist in the Business Products and Services category.

Heffel was a presenting sponsor of the Joe Fafard exhibition at the National Gallery of Canada, which also traveled in 2008 - 2009 to the McKenzie Art Gallery, the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, the Glenbow Museum and the Winnipeg Art Gallery.

2009
 
 

Lawren Stewart Harris
The Old Stump, Lake Superior
Heffel held their spring 2009 auction in Vancouver’s new Convention Centre West overlooking Coal Harbour. The sale total of $11,505,195 surpassed expectations and was highlighted by Emily Carr’s rare canvas Wind in the Tree Tops, which set a record at $2,164,500. This result broke Heffel’s previous record for Emily Carr’s painting Quiet, set in 2004.

The consignment of the Helen E. Band Estate, inherited from her father, well-known collector Charles S. Band, made the fall 2009 live sale historic. Lawren Harris’s extraordinary sketch from this estate, The Old Stump, Lake Superior, sold for a record price of $3,510,000. This surpassed Heffel’s previously established record for this iconic Canadian artist and set a new record for a Group of Seven work, again breaking Heffel’s own record. The sale achieved $20.9 million, making it the second-highest grossing sale in Canadian art auction history at that time.

Heffel was the only auction house in Canada to sell a painting over a million dollars in 2009, and did so a total of eight times, with four paintings selling for over two million.

2010
 
   
Heffel’s spring sale attained $22,757,202, becoming the second-highest yielding auction in Canadian fine art history. Important private estates and collections were represented, with works from the Erickson family and estate, the estate of Theodosia Dawes Bond Thornton, and a private philanthropist. Lawren Harris’s transcendent canvas Bylot Island I from the Thornton estate sold for $2,808,000. Thirteen artist sale records were broken, including those of Lawren Harris, Bill Reid, A.H. Robinson and Jean Paul Lemieux.

Alex Colville’s Man on Verandah sold for $1,287,000, a new record for the artist, as well as a new record for the highest price for a living Canadian artist to sell at auction in Canada, during the fall 2010 live Auction.

2011
 
   
For the first time, in the spring live Auction, the Post~War & Contemporary Canadian Art sale total eclipses the Fine Canadian Art sale total.

Jean Paul Lemieux’s Nineteen Ten Remembered set a new international auction record for a Canadian Post~War & Contemporary work of art during the fall 2011 live auction, selling for $2,340,000.

Following the fall auction season, Heffel surpasses the 300 million dollar mark in art auction sales since 1995, selling more Canadian art than any other auctioneer worldwide

2012
 
   
Heffel maintains offices in Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Ottawa. The Heffel team is committed to providing clients with outstanding service. Heffel looks forward to the future milestones that are to come and is thankful for their many loyal clients.

2013
 
 

Emily Carr The Crazy Stair (The Crooked Staircase)
In Heffel's Fall 2013 Live Auction, Emily Carr's The Crazy Stair (The Crooked Staircase) sold for an impressive $3,393,000, setting multiple auction records: the highest result at auction for an Emily Carr painting, the highest achieved for the work of a Canadian female artist and the fourth most valuable piece ever sold in Canadian art auction history.

2014
 
   
Upon studying the unique needs of corporate collectors, Heffel launched Heffel Online 2 (HO2) platform, developed specifically to provide customized service to corporate consignors in need of divesting large volume, modest value collections of artwork.

2015
 
 

Barbara Hepworth Three Forms (Three Horizontal Curves)
Marking an exciting expansion in Canada's thriving art market, Heffel welcomed Post-War & Contemporary art from around the world for its semi-annual live ballroom sales. Recognizing the international interest for important contemporary works of art, Heffel determined that from then on, the live Post-War & Contemporary auction catalogues would be internationally inclusive.

2015
 
 

Toronto Gallery (13 & 15 Hazelton Ave.)
Heffel expanded three offices: adding an additional office space in Toronto equipped with a photography studio, client conference room and designated packing and shipping area; establishing a new office and exhibition space in Calgary to accommodate the expanding Alberta client service requirements; and acquiring a secure fine art consignment storage facility and additional office space in North Vancouver to support the operations of Heffel's national offices and galleries.

2015
 
   
Heffel's Fall 2015 Live Auction marked the highest grossing fine art auction in Canadian history, as 157 important works of art were offered in Toronto. Starring museum-quality works by Group of Seven artist Lawren Harris, Heffel's international auction achieved monumental sales of $23.4 million.

2015
 
 

Lawren Stewart Harris Mountain and Glacier
Heffel broke the auction record for a work by Lawren Harris with the commanding Rocky Mountain canvas Mountain and Glacier, which sold for $4,602,000. Earlier in the sale, the stunning Winter Landscape sold for $3,658,000. These works became the second and third most valuable Canadian paintings ever sold at auction.

2016
 
   
Heffel's Fall 2016 Live Auction and Toronto preview was held at a fantastic new venue - the beautiful Design Exchange in the heart of the Toronto’s Financial District. A not-for-profit museum funded by its members and donors, Design Exchange is Canada’s only museum dedicated exclusively to the pursuit of design excellence and the preservation of design heritage. A heritage building, it is incorporated into Mies van der Rohe's architecturally stunning TD Centre. Heffel was thrilled to support this important venue.

2016
 
   
Heffel’s Fall 2016 Live Auction marked an important milestone in Canada’s art history. With masterpieces by Lawren Harris, Tom Thomson and A.J. Casson leading the sale, it became the highest grossing art auction in Canadian history. Shattering presale estimates of $22 million to $32 million, the auction total exceeded $42 million, demonstrating the strength of the market and the undying appetite for important masterpieces.

2016
 
 

Lawren Stewart Harris, Mountain Forms
Lawren Harris’s iconic Mountain Forms sold at the Heffel Fall 2016 Live Auction for a remarkable final price of $11,210,000. Strong competition drove the 1926 canvas to a new artist record and a new record for a Canadian work at auction, more than doubling the previous record.

2016
 
 

Alfred Joseph (A.J.) Casson, Country Crisis
For the first time, Heffel’s fall auction was presented in four separate catalogues. In addition to its longstanding Post-War & Contemporary Art and Fine Canadian Art sessions, The Peter & Joanne Brown Collection featured 90 significant works and became the most valuable single-consignor collection sold in the Canadian art market. Gustave Caillebotte: Iris bleus, jardin du Petit Gennevilliers was also featured as a dedicated session and continued the Heffel tradition of offering high-end international art at live auction.

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