Michael Audain has revealed that he was the anonymous bidder who purchased an "iconic" Emily Carr painting at auction this fall, an anchor piece for his new Whistler museum.
The 1928 painting The Crazy Stair sold at auction in November for $3.393 million. It was the highest ever paid at auction for an Emily Carr, and the highest for a work by a Canadian woman artist. It was also the fourth most expensive at an art auction in Canada.
"For over 40 years, I have been marvelling at The Crazy Stair as it graced the walls of The Vancouver Club," said Audain in a press release. "So, I am delighted that this work will now not only stay in British Columbia, but be on public exhibition."
The piece will be a key piece to the new Audain Art Museum, scheduled to open in late 2015.
"This iconic picture will help anchor the amazing collection of Emily Carrs that will be in the museum's permanent collection," said Suzanne Greening, the executive director for the Audain Art Museum. "Michael Audain and Yoshiko Karasawa have told us that they plan to donate their Emily Carr collection of over 20 paintings, which is considered the most important private collection of Carr's work in the country."
The 56,000 square foot museum is under construction in between the parking lots 3 and 4, opposite municipal hall in the village. It will house pieces from Audain's private collection of British Columbia art as well as exhibitions from around the world.