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Multimillion-dollar Matisse painting doesn't sell at Toronto auction

A canvas by Henri Matisse, shown in this handot image, with a multimillion-dollar price tag did not sell at a Toronto auction after the highest bid fell short of the seller's minimum sum. The Heffel Fine Art Auction House had estimated the French artist's "Femme assise sur un balcon" would fetch between $3.8 million and $5.8 million in its spring sale. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heffel Fine Art *MANDATORY CREDIT T*

TORONTO — A canvas by Henri Matisse with a multimillion-dollar price tag did not sell at a Toronto auction after the highest bid fell short of the consignor’s minimum sum.

The Heffel Fine Art Auction House had estimated the legendary French artist’s “Femme assise sur un balcon” would fetch between $3.8 million and $5.8 million in its spring sale.

The highest bid called Wednesday at Toronto’s Design Exchange for the 1919 painting was $3 million, failing to meet the seller’s undisclosed reserve price.

A Heffel spokeswoman says the auction house is accepting offers for any unsold works, which will be forwarded on to the consignor, who can choose whether to accept them.

Heffel had touted the lot as the first major oil-on-canvas by Matisse to be offered at auction in Canada.

President David Heffel said in a statement last month the international offering marked a “milestone” for the auction house and signalled the maturity of the Canadian art market.

The Canadian Press