Nov 21, 2014

By Jane Brown

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It’s amazing what can happen if you offer a neighbour a little homemade apple strudel and jam.

The late Canadian Ukrainian Artist William Kurelek gave a Toronto woman one of his original pieces of artwork back in the 1970’s.  He wanted to pay her back for the baked goods and jam she would bring over to a friend’s home where he was staying in the city’s High Park neighbourhood.

Now, all these years later, the woman’s daughter, who will only identify herself as Christina for privacy reasons, has inherited the painting and finds out it’s estimated at between $15,000 and $20,000.  It’s being offered up for bidding through Canadian Fine Art’s fall sale. The painting is entitled “Ukrainian Proverb”.

Measuring 25 by 11 centimetres (not including the frame), the piece depicts a child sprawled out on his stomach in the snow, holding a net while a white rabbit scurries away in the foreground and another runs toward the horizon.  Inscribed in the lower part of the composition is a Ukrainian proverb, written in both English and Ukrainian: “He who chases two rabbits at the same time catches neither.”

Kurelek wrote on the back of the intricately carved wooden frame, which he made himself, “Value, $400, mixed media, 1974”

The auction house calls it a “gem” that’s in “excellent condition.”

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