Emily Carr painting sells for record S$4 million

OTTAWA - A large painting by the late Canadian artist Emily Carr has sold at auction for Can$3.39 million (S$4 million), breaking several records, Heffel Fine Art Auction House announced Friday.

The sale of "The Crazy Stair" by Carr, one of Canada's first modernist and post-impressionist painters, was the most ever paid at auction for one of her paintings and the fourth highest in Canadian art auction history.

The sale, to an anonymous buyer, also set a new benchmark for the work of a Canadian female artist - far exceeding the Can$1.6 million expectations of its seller, the Vancouver Club, "after a lively bidding war," said Heffel.

"The winning collector of Emily Carr's 'The Crazy Stair' made one last passionate bid and one big boost for the Canadian art market," said auction house president David Heffel.

Carr (1871 to 1945) was born in Victoria, British Columbia in westernmost Canada, also dying there. Her paintings of natives and landscapes were inspired by totem-carving aboriginals of the Pacific Northwest Coast.

In total, eight Carr pieces were sold during the fall auction. Other notable sales were "War Canoes," "Alert Bay and Westcoast Sea and Sky," selling for Can$339,300 and Can$93,600 respectively.