March 12, 2018

Emily Carr’s painting of Sophie Frank

Treasured portrait at auction for the first time

Emily Carr’s tender portrait of her friend Sophie Frank, a Squamish woman whom she met after moving to Vancouver in 1905, is set to be sold for the first time. The two were close friends, and Carr even dedicated her book Klee Wyck (1941) to Frank, featuring her portrait as the frontispiece.

Carr kept the watercolour portrait, believed to have been painted between 1907 and 1908, in her home for her entire life. Although the pre-auction estimate only constitutes a fraction of what Carr’s top oil paintings have sold for, the small watercolour carries with it a deep emotional and historical significance.

It will go up for auction May 30, 2018, at Toronto’s Design Exchange, alongside Quebec painter Paul-Emile Borduas’s abstract painting Figures schématiques, which is also drawing an interested crowd.


To learn more about Emily Carr, a leading figure in Canadian modern art in the early twentieth century, read Emily Carr: Life & Work by Lisa Baldissera.


For more on Paul-Émile Borduas read the ACI book by François-Marc Gagnon.

Emily Carr, Sophie Frank, 1914, watercolour on paper, 24.1 x 19.1 cm.

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