On your way up to Whistler on a sunny summer day, it can be pretty tempting to take your eyes off of Highway 99 and stare at the breathtaking view of the Tantalus Range.
Now, one artist’s interpretation of the panoramic skyline during a sunset is up for grabs, and is expected to fetch a hefty price at auction this week.
Frederick Horsman Varley’s painting, Dusk – Tantalus Range , is being auctioned off at the Heffel Fine Art Auction House’s spring event on Thursday, May 22. It’s expected to be one of the top 10 auction sales of Canadian fine art in history, featuring a collection of 164 lots and 22 paintings by a range of Canadian artists.
Varley is widely known as the “gypsy” portrait artist of the influential Group of Seven. He came to Vancouver in 1926 to explore the backcountry wilderness, and eventually moving on to Ottawa, Montreal, the Arctic, Nova Scotia, and Russia. Varley spent time teaching at the Vancouver School of Decorative and Applied Arts, eventually becoming head of the school and moving on to form the British Columbia College of Arts in 1933.
Painted during his time in British Columbia, Varley captured the view of the Pacific sub-range of the Coast Mountains in a dark, rich oil on panel painting circa 1929. Dusk – Tantalus Range has a conservative estimate of $175,000 to $225,000.
Dusk is just one of three Varley paintings that will be on the block at the spring auction, and in total, the collection has a pre-sale estimate of $1,003,000 to $1,322,000.
“To have three great Varley B.C. works in the same auction is rare for us,” said Robert Heffel, principal of Heffel Auction House, “Varley’s work is highly sought after and we expect heavy bidding on each of these.”
The auction, which will be held at the Vancouver Convention and Exhibition Centre, will also feature a range of works by other members of the Group of Seven, including A.Y. Jackson and Lawren Harris, as well as watercolours by Emily Carr.
To view the catalogue online, visit www.heffel.com .