Maud Lewis’ painting once traded for a grilled cheese sandwich sells for a record $350,000

A painting by Maud Lewis, once traded for a grilled cheese sandwich 50 years ago in London, Ontario, has sold for $350,000 at auction.

This is the first time that a painting by the artist has surpassed the sale of $100,000. The previous record price for his work was set in November 2021 when station in winter grossed $67,250.

“We didn’t really realize what a treasure it was to Canadians,” said Irene Demas, the painting’s former owner. black truck. “It will put her in the world. Everyone will look at their Maud Lewis [pieces] differently after this auction.”

Born in 1903, Lewis lived in poverty while suffering from debilitating rheumatoid arthritis. She made brightly colored paintings of landscapes, animals and flowers in her one-room home in the village of Marshalltown, outside of Digby, Nova Scotia.

Lewis painted the scene of a black truck driving down a rural road in 1967, just three years before he died. It was made for London artist John Kinnear, who met Lewis when she was selling her paintings along the highway for as little as $2. The two became friends, and Kinnear sent supplies to Lewis while publicizing his work in Ontario.

He traded the painting for lunch at a downtown restaurant owned by Demas and her husband Tony in the 1970s. The couple decided to put the painting up for auction on May 14, where it was expected to sell for up to of $35,000.

Demas said she was surprised to see a 10x higher closing bid.

“We have always cherished his painting,” Demas said. “It’s brought us joy all these years. You pass it on and hope the next person gets as much joy out of it as we do.”

A collection of three letters from Lewis to John Kinnear dated from 1966 to 1967. (Submitted by Miller & Miller Auctions Ltd.)

Two handwritten letters from Lewis to Kinnear believed to be the very first examples of the deceased artists’ correspondence to be put on the market have also been auctioned. These cost $70,000, well above the expected $3,000-5,000.

Ethan Miller, managing director and auctioneer at Miller & Miller Auctions in New Hamburg, Ont., said the letters and painting went to two separate, but equally passionate bidders.

He said the winner of the painting increased their initial bid increase by $10,000 after watching the 2016 biopic. Maudie the day before the auction.

Miller said he viewed the high bids as a statement for Lewis overcoming adversity.

Afternoon drive8:51The painting of Maud Lewis who once paid for grilled cheese in London is now worth thousands

50 years ago, a Maud Lewis painting was used to buy a grilled cheese sandwich from a London restaurant. Today, this painting could fetch $35,000 at auction. Guest host Allison Devereaux hears the whole story of this restaurant’s former owner, Irene Demas.

“I think given the way the world is and some of the growing pains we’ve had over the last couple of years, I think it’s a testament to the fact that human beings really do rally around people. who stand up for what they believe in and pursue their passions,” Miller said.

“In this case, I really think it’s symbolic of how these people feel, not just about Maud’s art, but about Maud Lewis herself.”