Portraits Page 2 Great Canadian Portraits
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Paul Kane - 1810-1871 - 2 The Fake

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The most expensive painting by a Canadian artist ever sold in Canada was "Scene in the Northwest," a portrait of Capt. JH Lefroy, painted by Paul Kane c 1845.

But there is another, virtually exact copy of that painting out there, that was for years, wrongly attributed to Paul Kane right.

In fact some Canadian art experts now believe it was not painted by Kane himself at all. Some say it was perhaps painted by his wife Harriet, doing copy work and adding another face to it. Others say Robert Todd, another famous contemporary of Kane and Cornelius Krieghoff, painted it.

There are differences in the two canvases but only experts can tell them apart, though you will see the discrepancies if they are pointed out.

The fake Paul Kane - if you will - is not of Capt. Lefroy. Some claim it is purportedly of John Balleden, another Hudson's Bay Company employee and friend of Kane and Lefroy.

This copy is currently in the holdings of the Glenbow Museum of Alberta.

You may have real difficulty finding this copy on the internet anymore, where we found it some years ago.

Right is the genuine multi-million dollar painting of Capt. Lefroy by Paul Kane.

Can you spot the differences?

They are hard to make out on internet dupes but they include variations in the shape of the face, and the hair with curls at the temple, on the "Balleden fake" - it was a common practice at the time to put different faces on to scenics that were successful.

There is also supposed to be a man in the tent doorway, with its flap up higher.

There also appear to be variations in the trees.

An art observer who has seen both originals says the Paul Kane is the more finely executed painting.

Numerous items shown in the painting, like the gun case and sash still exist in museum holdings.

The Royal Ontario Museum has a dress that Paul Kane bought from one of his famous subjects. (See page 1).

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

Of the hundreds of Chandlers we have seen, we believe this is the most magnificent.

William Henry Chandler 1854-1928 was America's top pastel artist. He worked out of New York.

He was wildly popular. Hundreds of his original pastels show up at Canadian country auctions and his prints as well.

They are frequently just signed Chandler.

He painted only a few months in Canada, during 1917 when, we believe, he visited spectacular Lake Louise in the Rockies and painted this fabulous scene of Mount Lefroy, named after the man in Paul Kane's painting.

Mount Lefroy was also the site of Canada's first alpine fatality, when top American climber, Philip Abott, fell to his death, while climbing unroped in 1896.

On the right is the Victoria glacier, and on the left is Mount Aberdeen.

For the story behind Lake Louise and other views

Go to Lake Louise

For more on fakes:

Go to Morrisseau

Give me all the fakes you've got:

Go to Fakes Galore



Mount Lefroy, Lake Louise - William Henry Chandler 1917
Orig. pastel - Image Size - 36 x 71 cm
Found - Milton, ON
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