May 25, 2022
Interest in Lewis’s charming paintings depicting life in rural Nova Scotia continues on an upward trajectory attracting collectors in Canada, the U.S. and U.K., driving the value of her paintings to surprising new heights in recent months.
When: Friday, May 27 @ 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
What: Maud Lewis Retrospective – first Winnipeg exhibition of legendary Nova Scotia artist’s works. Three-week exhibition opening May 28 features 20 paintings, four Christmas cards, two paintings on clamshells. MAUD LEWIS RETROSPECTIVE | Mayberry Fine Art includes works dating from 1948 to 1966
Where: Mayberry Fine Art Tuxedo @ Tuxedo Park Shopping Centre (2025 Corydon - Unit 138)
Who: Gallery co-owners Bill Mayberry and Shaun Mayberry. The Mayberrys have promoted Maud Lewis’s paintings to collectors for 20-plus years. They have bought and sold more than 250 Lewis artworks, by far the most of any commercial gallery
Why: Interest in Lewis’s charming paintings depicting life in rural Nova Scotia continues on an upward trajectory attracting collectors in Canada, the U.S. and U.K., driving the value of her paintings to surprising new heights in recent months
To my knowledge, there are no other artists whose works have increased in value from a mere few dollars to over $60,000 within my 50 years in the Canadian art business. It is truly amazing and unprecedented. – Bill Mayberry
Maud Lewis is recognized as a great Canadian artist, Canada’s most authentic folk artist and a national treasure. Paintings that she personally sold for $2 to $10 have attained collector status and are now worth many tens of thousands of dollars.
For 30 years after her death in 1970, Lewis’s works were all but ignored by many art museums, buyers, serious collectors and established dealers. Because she was a serial painter –often repeating her subject matter – the art establishment gave her work little credibility. In the 1990s, her works sold for $800 to $1,000.
As art collectors’ appreciation for Lewis’s work began to grow in the 2000s, prices climbed in tandem. Ten years ago, her paintings sold for $5,000 to $10,000 with her most unique 1940s and ‘50s pieces fetching as much as $20,000.
Bill Mayberry first took interest in Lewis’s work in the early1990s. Three exhibitions of Lewis’s work at Mayberry’s Toronto gallery (2011, 2013, 2016) heightened collector interest.
The 2017 biopic Maudie prompted enquiries to Mayberry about the value of long-held paintings, many of which were bought as souvenirs decades ago from Maud Lewis herself. The unframed works purchased for a few dollars often ended up in basements and attics.
In the past two years, Maud Lewis paintings have more than doubled in value with the majority of works now selling for $25,000 to $50,000, and a few going for higher prices at auction.
Given the huge growth in interest in her work among serious collectors over the last 10 years, demand for Maud Lewis paintings now far exceeds supply. Currently, there are only ever a handful of her works available for sale anywhere at any given time.
Mayberry assembled the collection for its Tuxedo gallery show by borrowing works owned by its Winnipeg clients.
With the recent record prices paid for Lewis paintings, Mayberry anticipates that many more works will start to become available as owners throughout Canada and the U.S. decide to part with their long-held treasures.
For this reason, being an informed buyer is more important than ever when considering buying a Maud Lewis artwork.
Learn more in Bill Mayberry’s blog The Emerging Canadian Art Market and Maud Lewis | Mayberry Fine Art
About Maud Lewis
Maud Lewis (1903-1970) was born in South Ohio, Nova Scotia. Her career as an artist began when her mother encouraged her to paint Christmas cards to sell.
Her world was geographically small -- extending between her birthplace and her home in Marshalltown, Digby County, where she and husband Everett lived after they married in 1938. Their tiny home lacked modern amenities like indoor plumbing and electricity, but was adorned with joyful artwork that Lewis painted on the interior and exterior of the wood cabin.
Despite worsening rheumatoid arthritis, she brought in money through her paintings which commonly sold for $5. A roadside sign advertised her works and those who stopped to admire her paintings took enjoyment from the naïve style in which she depicted scenes, people and animals familiar to her.
Through newspaper and magazine articles, and documentaries such as the one produced by CBC in 1965 and by The National Film Board in 1976, Maud Lewis’s artistic reputation grew. In 2017, she was the subject of the award-winning film Maudie which brought her story and art to the world.
Maud never knew it, but she was the authentic pioneer of folk art in Canada. Maud Lewis brought folk art into mainstream Canadian art. – Bill Mayberry
About Mayberry Fine Art With galleries in Winnipeg and Toronto, Mayberry Fine Art has been helping clients build valuable collections of Canadian art for 50 years. Its operations also include an online and live auction house in partnership with Cowley Abbott, a specialist in that field. Today, Mayberry Fine Art is among Canada’s premier private art galleries and considered a foremost expert in historical and contemporary Canadian fine art.
Maud Lewis, Covered Bridge, 1965. Oil on panel, 12" x 14"