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Maud Lewis 'Lobsterman' painting once traded for a tie tack fetches more than $50,000 at auction
The late artist John Kinnear, a snappy dresser, was reeled in by a blue sapphire goldsmith John Ellington had in his Richmond Street shop, so the two men agreed to a trade: one custom sapphire tie tack for "any painting" Kinnear had in his studio
By: Miller & Miller Auctions, Ltd.
The late artist John Kinnear, a snappy dresser, was reeled in by a blue sapphire goldsmith John Ellington had in his Richmond Street shop and so the two men agreed to a trade: one custom sapphire tie tack for "any painting" Kinnear had on his studio wall down the street.
When the time came to make the trade, Ellington shied away from Kinnear's own paintings, which were appealing but too large. Instead, he set his eyes on the only Maud Lewis on the wall – a small, delightful painting of a pipe-smoking lobster fisherman. Kinnear initially resisted, saying that was his favorite painting, but Ellington reminded him he'd said "any painting", so in the end they happily did the swap.
Ellington enjoyed The Lobsterman painting in his home for roughly 50 years before consigning it to New Hamburg-based Miller & Miller Auctions for their Oct. 14 Folk Art sale, where it sold for over $50,000 (including buyer's premium). This is the second Maud Lewis painting obtained through a noteworthy barter arrangement with Kinnear. In May 2022, Miller & Miller Auctions sold one of Lewis's paintings, Black Truck, for a record-breaking $350,000. Kinnear had traded that painting to the owners of a London restaurant for a few grilled cheese lunches.
The Lobsterman is considered a rarity, according to Alan Deacon, a Nova Scotia-based expert who's been studying Maud Lewis for over 50 years. She's considered a 'serial painter' because she painted the same subjects over and over, but no one has seen another painting like The Lobsterman. "It's also rare to have such a large figure in a Maud Lewis painting," says Deacon, "so the rarity and the figure make it a special painting."
The painting was sold to a private Canadian collector.
Watch this YouTube video to see John Ellington tell the story of how the swap went down: https://www.youtube.com/
For more information, please contact Ethan Miller at 1-519-573-3710, or via email at email@example.com. (mailto:info@