News » Whistler

Up for auction: original Picassos and more

Vancouver gallery throws local auction, pieces averaged at $4,000



Owning a Picasso or Chagall may seem like a distant dream, but an upcoming art auction will have such art works up for grabs at a reasonable price.

Susanna Strem, owner of Vancouver-based Chali-Rosso Gallery, is hosting an international fine art auction in Whistler this Saturday. It will feature signed lithographs, etchings and sculptures from art greats including Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Marc Chagall, Joan Miro, and Henri Matisse.

“It is a great opportunity even just to come, look at the pieces, look at the artwork, and see that, yes these are available,” said Strem.

“A lot of people are surprised by the availability. That they can own a Dali, or even a Picasso, or a Chagall, and these pieces are absolutely gorgeous.”

The most expensive pieces are valued at $30,000. A total of eight pieces are also valued above $20,000, but the average price is around $3,000 to $4,000. The most expensive pieces will be those by Picasso and Chagall.

“We have art work in every price range. And it is all original art work,” said Strem, adding that the affordability comes partly because the gallery purchased the art directly from private investors, eliminating the need for dealer and brokerage fees.

“They come from private collections from all over the world. We have quite an extensive network of private collectors in Europe and in the U.S., so that way we can keep our prices very competitive because we cut out the middle man.”

Because of authenticity issues, Strem was picky about which pieces to include in the auction, making sure that all come from reputable sources. Industry experts authenticate all art works, and the gallery will provide certificates of authenticity to patrons upon purchase.

“This is a really great opportunity to buy original art work by these artists in an affordable price range,” she said.

“These artist’s paintings are in the millions, at least $500,000 and over, and these are original pieces that are still in an affordable price range. The investment value is absolutely phenomenal.

“So for these, the prices will just go up and up. The question is how much. I would say the priority (on purchasing this art) should be aesthetical value, but the investment value is also a bonus.”

Four high-value Picassos and four high-value Chagalls will be available at the auction.

The Chali-Rosso Gallery opened up three years ago, but Strem has been in the art business for many years, working mainly from Europe.

She chose Whistler as the location for this auction because of the town’s reputation as international.

“First of all, these artists are very international, and Whistler is an international resort with an international crowd,” she said.

“I think it is a perfect match.”

Cotemporary, international and local artist’s work on paper and canvas will also be up for auction this weekend, with work coming as far away as Europe, South America, and Africa.

Some of the artists being represented are Victor Vasarely, Karen Hollowell, Carlos Monsalve, Endre Szasz, John Laing, Itzchak Tarkay, Peter Max and Jean-Paul Riopelle.

Approximately 100 people are expected to show up at the free event, which will be held at the Cheakamus Room in the Hilton Resort and Spa. A “Wine and Cheese” preview will take place from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., followed by live auction from 6 to 8 p.m.

For more information, visit