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Homer Watson painting set for auction after being in Waterloo Region home for decades

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If you live in Kitchener, you’ve likely heard the name Homer Watson.

But some may not know the name goes well beyond the road named after him – he’s one of Waterloo Region’s most renowned painters.

One of the late artist’s paintings is now set to hit the Cowley Abbott art auction in Toronto on Wednesday.

The piece, titled Landscape Near Doon, has lived on the wall at Nancy Silcox’s Waterloo Region home for quite some time.

“Probably about 2002. I’ve had it about 20 years,” she said.

Silcox has more than a few pieces from the artist, who was born in Berlin, Ont. (now called Kitchener) in 1855. He is Canada’s first internationally-known landscape painter.

So as an art lover, it’s fitting that Silcox picked up some of Watson’s work along the way.

“I used to be addicted to buying paintings,” she said. “In his heyday, he was called Canada’s Constable.”

Landscape Near Doon is expected to fetch at least $3,000 to $4,000 at auction. Silcox believes it will likely go for more considering it’s the only Watson work in the auction.

“It’s very special because it’s being sold with a lot of Group of Seven [pieces] being sold on Wednesday,” she said.

One of Watson’s pieces titled Morning in the Lane sold for $11,875 at an auction in 2019.

But why sell such a beloved piece?

“Tastes change," she said. "I also feel that I would like more people to be aware of who Homer Watson is and what he brought."

The Homer Watson House & Gallery is one of the few places where you’ll still see a collection of Homer Watson pieces all under the same roof.

“Homer was known for painting Canada before the Group of Seven,” said Ralf Wall with the gallery. “His decline came during their rise. So there was probably a little bit of that bitterness because of that.”

Modern art moved in and pushed out the old-school style of Watson. It's an added reason why his paintings aren’t seen as much anymore.

But Silcox doesn’t plan on saying goodbye to Watson fully anytime soon.

With a blank space left on her wall, she’s not ruling out the possibility of filling that hole with the work of one of Waterloo Region’s famed painters.

“Would I buy another Homer Watson? Right now? I probably would,” she said, chuckling.

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