LAWREN HARRIS, Canadian iconic painter and member of the Group of Seven, is making his debut in Los Angeles at the Hammer Museum, partly thanks to actor, comedian and art collector STEVE MARTIN. Reporter Mike Boehm of the Los Angeles Times writes “Martin is using his star power to couch for a little-known talent he thinks the public should know and love – a Canadian landscape painter who died in 1970, famed in his homeland but all but unheard of in the United States.”
“By anointing Martin as curator, the Hammer joins a number of museums that have bestowed curatorial laurels on pop-culture celebrities and reaped the attendant publicity. It also reopens a long-running art world debate over whether people who collect a given artist’s work — as Martin does with Harris — should have a hand in curating nonprofit museum exhibitions that have the potential to increase the value of their own art holdings.”
Mr. Boehm goes on: “auctioneers in Canada who sell Harris’ work think that the L.A. show will boost prices, which regularly top $1 million for prime pieces, with an auction high of $3.5 million.”
“It could prove a watershed moment for Lawren Harris,” said David Heffel, president of Heffel Fine Art Auction House in TORONTO. Already, the L.A. show has sparked queries from new potential buyers interested in three Harris paintings he’ll be auctioning Nov. 26.
Linda Rodeck, head of the Canadian art department at Waddington’s auction house in TORONTO, said that the lower-profile Harris exhibition seen in New York in 2000 and in 2001 at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in KLEINBURG, Ontario, cemented Harris as a million-dollar artist in Canada.
To read the entire Los Angeles Times story go to http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/la-et-cm-hammer-steve-martin-20151010-story.html