A Kenojuak Ashevak stonecut print titled The Enchanted Owl set a new benchmark for prints at a Canadian auction when it commanded $216,000 in Toronto on Tuesday evening.
The amount shattered the $100,000-$120,000 estimate set prior to auction.
“It’s a great tribute to a great artist,” said auctioneer Duncan McLean, who serves as Inuit art specialist for Waddington’s, the auction house that hosted Tuesday’s event.
The former record for a Canadian print belonged to Sybil Andrews, an English-Canadian artist who resided in Campbell River, B.C. Her print titled Speedway brought in $129,000 in 2015.
The previous high price paid for a Kenojuak print was Rabbit Eating Seaweed, which sold for $59,000.
Waddington’s declined to release any information about the buyer of The Enchanted Owl, who bid $180,000 and then paid a 20 per cent buyer’s premium and taxes to bring the final price up to $216,000.
Ashevak, a Cape Dorset artist who lived from 1927-2013, has a cultural centre and print shop named in her honour in her hometown.
A couple of other exceptional pieces that sold during Tuesday’s auction included a carving by the late Osuitok Ipeelee of Cape Dorset. The carving, titled Standing Caribou, went to a bidder offering $16,000. A Dancing Bear carving by Cape Dorset’s Pauta Saila sold for $12,000.