Building a Collection of Canadian Fine Art: Tips and Strategies for Successful Auction Bidding

Canadian fine art has a rich history and an ever-evolving contemporary scene, making it an exciting and rewarding collection area. Whether you are a veteran art collector or just starting, acquiring Canadian fine art can be a worthwhile investment that provides financial returns and personal satisfaction. One of the primary ways to acquire Canadian fine art is through auction bidding from art houses like Waddington’s. This post will provide tips and strategies for successful auction bidding to help you build your collection.

Research and Education

Before you start bidding, it is essential to research and educate yourself on the Canadian art market. You should study the artists, their styles, their influences, and the history and evolution of Canadian fine art. This knowledge will aid you in making informed decisions when bidding on pieces, giving you an advantage over other bidders who may not have done their research.

Attend Auction Previews

Auction previews are a great way to see the pieces up close and understand their quality and condition. You can examine the artwork’s size, texture, and colour in person, which is often challenging from online images alone. Additionally, attending the preview will allow you to speak with auction house specialists and ask questions about the artwork, its provenance, and its estimated value.

Set a Budget

Setting a budget is crucial when bidding at auctions. Determine how much you are willing to spend and stick to it. Remember that additional costs, such as taxes, buyer’s premiums, and shipping fees, will exceed the hammer price. These expenses can add up quickly, so factor them into your budget.

Bidding Strategies

You can use several bidding strategies to increase your chances of winning an auction. Here are a few:

  • Place an absentee bid: An absentee bid is one you place before the auction, either online or in person. This is a good option if you cannot attend the auction in person or want to set a maximum bid and do not have to participate in the bidding process actively.
  • Wait until the end to bid: Waiting until the last moment to bid can be a successful strategy because it gives you time to see how other bidders behave and adjust your bid accordingly. However, this can be risky, as you may not have enough time to place your bid before the auction closes.
  • Start low and gradually increase your bid: Starting with a low bid and gradually increasing it can be a successful strategy, significantly, if other bidders drop out early. However, be careful not to bid too aggressively, as you may pay more than you intended.
  • Bid confidently: If you bid confidently, other bidders may be intimidated and drop out earlier, giving you a better chance of winning the auction. However, be careful not to overbid or bid beyond your budget.


Acquiring Canadian fine art through auction bidding at art houses like Waddington’s can be an exciting and rewarding experience, but it requires research, education, and careful planning. By following the tips and strategies outlined in this article, you can increase your chances of successfully building your collection of Canadian fine art.

Remember to do your research, attend auction previews, and set a budget. With patience and persistence, you can build a collection of Canadian fine art that brings you personal satisfaction and has the potential to provide financial returns in the future.