December 7, 2012
Demand for Maud Lewis paintings surges in Western Canada.
DEMAND FOR MAUD LEWIS PAINTINGS SURGES IN WESTERN CANADA
Serious collectors keen to buy the legendary Nova Scotian’s iconic folk art
WINNIPEG -- In the 110th anniversary year of folk artist Maud Lewis’s birth, Mayberry Fine Art will mount an exhibition and sale of the legendary Nova Scotian’s work at their galleries in Winnipeg and Toronto (www.mayberryfineart.com).
So popular has Lewis’s work become with Mayberry clients in western Canada, the May 2013 show will be the second Lewis exhibition that the upscale gallery has mounted in less than two years. Their first in Toronto in the fall 2011 featured 32 paintings and sold out in two days.
In November, Mayberry Fine Art paid the second highest record price at auction for a 14” x 18”, 1950s Maud Lewis painting of Sandy Cove to add to its inventory of 21 works already collected for next spring’s show. (See images below.) The veteran art dealers would like to acquire twice that number, confident that their clients would buy them all.
“Maud Lewis is being recognized as a great Canadian artist, a national treasure and one of Canada’s important painters,” gallery owner Bill Mayberry said of the diminutive artist born in 1903.
“What Atlantic Canadians have long known, now everyone else in the country is finally recognizing. Maud Lewis’s paintings have gone from being a souvenir purchase to collector status. She is the most authentic folk artist in Canada, and there has been huge growth in the interest in her work among serious collectors. There is great demand for her work in major cities across the West.”
Over the last 10 years, Lewis’s work has steadily increased in value. Paintings that Lewis personally sold for as little as $5 now commonly sell for $7,000 to $20,000 – with pieces from the late 1940s and ‘50s usually commanding the highest prices. (Mayberry Fine Art set the record for the highest price paid for a Maud Lewis when the gallery bought a small, 1950s painting of a village scene for $22,680 a year ago. It has since been sold to a client.)
Mayberry says much of the demand for Lewis’s work stems from western Canadians visiting the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia (AGNS) where her tiny, original home is on exhibit along with a collection of her paintings.
“People fall in love with her work and then they want to collect it. Her art speaks to all Canadians. It’s genuine. Maud Lewis’s painting gave her inner joy and people can sense that,” Mayberry explained.
A visit to the AGNS some 10 years ago is exactly what sparked one Winnipeg collector’s interest in Lewis’s art which he says “radiates joy.” Today, he owns 10 of her works.
“In the past, there were not many Mauds this far west, but that is changing,” said the collector who requested anonymity. “The appeal of her paintings is growing and generating a lot of interest. That’s why Mayberry is planning another show.”
With 40 years of experience as commercial art dealers, Mayberry has the curatorial expertise to assess Lewis’s work and explain why one particular piece would be priced at $8,000 while another could sell in the $20,000 range.
Anyone who owns an original Maud Lewis painting can contact Mayberry Fine Art for a free, verbal appraisal of the work(s) -- [email protected] or 1.877.871.9261 (toll-free).
About Mayberry Fine Art
Mayberry Fine Art opened in Winnipeg’s historic Exchange District in 2002 and in Toronto’s Yorkville neighbourhood in 2010. The gallery represent a broad range of historical Canadian works and prominent contemporary artists from across Canada. To learn more, visit www.mayberryfineart.com.
About Maud Lewis
Maud Lewis (1903-1970) was born in South Ohio, Nova Scotia. Her career as an artist began when her mother started her painting Christmas cards to sell.
Her world was geographically small -- extending between her birthplace and her home where she and husband Everett lived in Marshalltown, Digby County, after they married in 1938.
Their tiny home lacked modern amenities like indoor plumbing and electricity, but was adorned with joyful artwork that Maud painted on the interior and exterior of the wood cabin.
Despite worsening rheumatoid arthritis, Maud brought in money through her paintings which she 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, Maud’s artistic reputation grew. It is still growing today.