The listing: Suite 3901, 2045 Lakeshore Blvd. W., Toronto
Asking Price: $4,700,000
Taxes: $13,106.23 (2021)
Monthly maintenance fee: $6,629.40
Agents: Paul Maranger and Christian Vermast, Sotheby’s International Realty Canada
One evening in 1996, entrepreneur and philanthropist Salah Bachir left his home in downtown Toronto and drove along the waterfront to the Palace Pier. Mr. Bachir arrived a little early for a dinner party and didn’t want to disturb his host, so he decided to take a walk along the shore of Lake Ontario.
Before the evening was over, Mr. Bachir was contemplating a move west to the landmark tower with windows of brown glass. He was drawn to the lakeside tranquility and the five-star amenities of the complex, which sits on nine acres of grounds.
“I play tennis and there was a tennis court,” he says. “It’s like a beautiful resort on its own.”
Mr. Bachir purchased suite 3901, with three bedrooms, three bathrooms and a vantage point high above Humber Bay and the sailboats moored nearby.
“I moved out of downtown so I could get a dog and walk it along the waterfront,” he says.
Looking back, Mr. Bachir believes his decision was subtly influenced by his childhood in Lebanon, where many homes overlook the Mediterranean Sea. His family emigrated from that country to Canada in 1965, when Mr. Bachir was 10.
As a young man, Mr. Bachir began supporting his artist friends by purchasing their works. He went on to become president of Cineplex Media and chancellor of OCAD University. Through the years, he became an esteemed patron of the arts. His private collection of works by Andy Warhol is one of the world’s largest.
In 2017, OCAD University awarded Mr. Bachir an honourary doctorate in recognition of his contribution to Canadian culture and his fundraising in support of health care and the LGBTQ+ community.
At Palace Pier, Mr. Bachir used the space to display his vast collection of paintings, photographs and antiquities – against the backdrop of a relaxing home.
“I’ve always wanted comfort in our places,” he says. “I didn’t want a place where you couldn’t sit and watch a football game.”
Soon Mr. Bachir’s mother and siblings were moving into Palace Pier as well.
“We’re a family of five kids and four were in the building, he says. “At one time we had nine units in the building.”
In 2005, Mr. Bachir learned that the neighbours one floor above were planning to sell. He purchased that unit as well and often used the added space to accommodate young relatives, refugee families and immigrants launching new lives in Canada.
“A friend of mine call the whole experience a ‘Lebanese Knots Landing,” he says, laughing at the reference to the 1980s TV drama.
By 2011, Mr. Bachir and his husband, artist Jacob Yerex, envisioned joining the two suites with a connecting staircase.
They hired Kohn Shnier architects to come up with a design that would overcome the hurdles of logistics and condo bylaws.
The house today
After about one year of planning and construction, Mr. Bachir and Mr. Yerex had created a 6,470-square-foot suite.
The two living rooms were joined by a contemporary staircase manufactured in bent steel plate with open risers and mahogany treads.
There were few changes to the identical layouts of the two units, which combined to create a suite with six bedrooms, two kitchens and two dining rooms.
The couple’s daughter spent lots of time in the expanded space, and Mr. Yerex turned one of the bedrooms into a studio.
“It was perfect – I could fill up the walls with art,” says Mr. Bachir, who adds that he has always preferred to arrange the pieces in salon style. “It’s a collection – I do want it to be a feast for the eyes.”
Mr. Bachir kept the existing floors in some rooms and had new marble and granite floor tiles laid in others.
On the lower level, the couple took out a separate breakfast area to create a dining room large enough to accommodate 14 for dinner.
Many times, Mr. Bachir says, his mother took over the kitchen to teach people how to cook Lebanese dishes.
Film director Deepa Mehta, author Salman Rushdie, actor Kim Cattrall and many other luminaries have joined the soirées put together by Mr. Bachir and Mr. Yerex.
Over time, the couple renovated some of the bathrooms and improved their accessibility. Upstairs, they added a walk-in steam shower with two benches.
For several years, Mr. Bachir was a kidney dialysis patient. He turned part of the upper level into an area where he could receive treatment at home and continue to work. The couple went on to help build the Bachir Yerex Dialysis Centre at St. Joseph’s Health Centre.
These days Mr. Bachir and Mr. Yerex are spending more time at their country house in Paris, Ont. As they prepare to leave Toronto, Mr. Bachir imagines the couple’s expansive condo would make a comfortable space for a family – especially one that enjoys entertaining or has multiple generations living together. A couple can also have two home offices, he adds.
Palace Pier provides a fitness centre, year-round swimming pool, golf putting green, valet parking and a restaurant on site. The grounds include barbecue areas for outside gatherings, gardens and walking trails.
The best feature
Mr. Bachir says the vistas from the suite’s large windows are ever changing. He sometimes stands at the window and stares as he takes in the lightning flashing in the distance, snowstorms rolling in from across the lake or mist covering the water.
“It’s like being on the Mediterranean,” he says. “The view works with the art.”
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QU Announces Art Scholarship Recipients for Fall 2022 – Quincy University
QUINCY, Ill. – Quincy University’s Art Department awarded two art scholarships for the fall
“The Quincy University Art Department created the Art Talent Search Competition as a
way to raise the awareness for new or transfer students to obtain scholarships,” said Karl Warma,
M.F.A., professor of art. “QU has a long tradition of providing scholarships to art students, but
the growing financial need of students in art programs meant we needed more program
The selection process was held during the School of Fine Arts and Communication
Showcase on February 19, 2022. Participants submitted an application, portfolio and had
personal interviews with QU Art Department faculty. Recipients were chosen at the discretion of
the art faculty on the talent and personal vision of the candidate.
“We are so fortunate to have student’s bringing their developing talents to our Art &
Design Department at QU,” said Gary Meacher, M.F.A., assistant professor. “Every year we
have the chance to reward those talents with our annual scholarship competition.”
Laura VanNice, an incoming transfer student, was awarded a $5,000 scholarship.
VanNice previously studied at Moberly Area Community College. VanNice is from Hannibal,
Mo., and pursuing a degree in graphic design.
High school senior Aliya Callaway received a $3,000 scholarship. Callaway is from
Advance, Mo., majoring in graphic design.
“Laura VanNice and Aliya Callaway are talented young women who will bring additional
creative energy to the Art Department program at QU. We look forward to their active
participation starting in the fall of 2022,” said Warma.
Exploring the human design of motherhood at the MassArt Art Museum – GBH News
This week, GBH Executive Arts Editor Jared Bowen sits down with the Morning Edition team to bring you the latest exhibits from around Boston’s art museums.
Now at the MassArt Art Museum through December 18
This free exhibit at the MassArt Art Museum is “an exceptionally timely thing to do this weekend,” according to Bowen. “Designing Motherhood” takes viewers through the history of pregnancy, birth, and motherhood, driven by the fact that “this impacts all of us, we are all born,” as curator Michelle Millar Fisher explains. “We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for this one act,” says Millar.
The exhibition’s curators hope that “Designing Motherhood” will challenge audiences’ understanding of human reproduction and what it means to be a mother at a time when so much of modern pregnancy resources come from “people without uteruses designing for people with uteruses,” says curator Michelle Miller Fisher. The works featured vary from photography to historical technologies to sculpture, including one artist’s rendition of their pregnant belly in wood.
Drawing the Curtain
Now at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum through September 11
Maurice Sendak is perhaps most well-known for his work as an author and illustrator, namely for his 1963 children’s book Where The Wild Things Are. A new exhibit at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, however, presents a different facet of Sendak’s career: his work in set and costume design for the opera.
Sendak designed elements for not only an operatic adaptation of Where The Wild Things Are, but also Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Prokofiev’s Love for Three Oranges, and The Nutcracker among others. As Bowen describes, the exhibit is “fun,” as “you walk in and you’re met with music, you’re met with actual sets and set pieces, and you can feel the 3D elements of his design.”
Curator Diana Greenwald says that “you get the sense that there are these little breadcrumbs of his identity showing up” in Sendak’s featured work. Sendak described himself “growing up as Jewish, gay, [and] chronically ill,” and many of his stories feature themes of strength, childhood resilience, and adventure — all of which are reflected in “Drawing the Curtain.”
Sotheby's CEO on Why the Art Market Is Soaring – The Wall Street Journal
Amid London’s ongoing summer auction series, Sotheby’s Chief Executive Charles Stewart is taking stock of the global art market, and he likes what he sees.
On Wednesday, Sotheby’s sold $182 million worth of art over a couple hours in London, meeting the house’s expectations even though a few works by artists such as David Hockney and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner failed to find buyers. Top sales included Francis Bacon’s $53 million “Portrait of Lucian Freud” and Andy Warhol’s $16 million “Self Portrait.” Feverish bidding followed young upstarts like Flora Yukhnovich, whose smudgy Rococo-style painting, “Boucher’s Flesh,” sold to a bidder in Asia for $2.8 million—10 times its low estimate.
London’s sales mark the latest win for Mr. Stewart, who joined Sotheby’s after telecom titan
bought the auction house for $3.7 billion three years ago. Mr. Stewart, who previously worked in telecom and banking, had barely made the rounds to meet his international team when the pandemic hit. Overnight, he had to cancel hundreds of in-person auctions and pivot the company to operate in a marketplace entirely online. The company took a hit in 2020, reporting $5.5 billion in sales, but it bounced back to $7.3 billion last year—a record-high for the 278-year-old company.
Mr. Stewart, a 52-year-old Connecticut native, said he applied lessons learned from the telecom industry to broaden access to Sotheby’s offerings by retooling its online auctions to be easier to find, livestream and click-to-bid. These moves are paying off now even as the world reopens.
“The art market is still really opaque, so we are trying to reduce barriers and allow more people to feel comfortable buying art from us,” he said. “I’m always going to be interested in extending our reach.”
Mr. Stewart recently spoke with The Wall Street Journal from the auction house’s office in Paris. Here are edited excerpts:
Despite the volatility in the broader financial markets, art sales are surging. How do you explain what’s happening in the art market right now?
We’re not impervious to global economic woes, but great material performs well, and we’ve had some strong pieces come to market. I think we’re also seeing the importance of the global nature of our business. We’ve had collectors from over 50 countries bid in our sales, and whenever we’ve noticed stress or anxiety coming from country X, sector Y, category Z, the bidding is so broad-based that it offsets these concerns. That keeps prices strong.
The market has also expanded to include people who are stepping in to bid at all levels, not just at the top. And I think there’s just more interest overall in owning tangible, physical objects at this point in time. In a world of volatility and uncertainty, people crave things that endure.
Is the market nearing a peak?
Art is probably more of a lagging indicator rather than a leading indicator of where the markets are. We don’t necessarily see dramatic corrections. When our market slows down, fewer things become available to sell, but anyone waiting around to get a 30% discount on a masterpiece may be disappointed and frustrated.
We’re kind of like the oceanfront property that everyone’s waiting for the right moment to buy, but there’s a lot of money waiting for that moment. As soon as the price for anything goes down even a little bit, people start to jump in. I see a similar dynamic in our brackets.
Inflation is high in the U.S., and yet that doesn’t appear to have dampened the art market. Why is that?
Art is priced globally, and people bid in whatever currency they use. You may own an object and think about it in dollars, but the bidders trying to win it might be thinking in euros or Swiss francs. Inflation can accompany currency weakness, but art is valued at a globally determined price, so it can be a good hedge against inflation made worse by currency weaknesses.
Cryptocurrencies are flatlining. What’s your outlook on NFT art?
Crypto has clearly repriced significantly, and that’s had implications for the NFT market. But I think people are starting to understand the difference between NFTs created by artists and those made for the collectible markets or for communities like the Bored Apes. Last year it was all sort of lumped together. Now, there’s some clear distinctions.
I also think there’s so much yet to be unlocked in terms of blockchain usage, and the day will come when the physical art we sell will somehow be recorded and supported by a token on the blockchain. It’ll be the standard because it has the potential to solve a number of long-standing issues around things like title, authenticity and provenance. It took the rise of NFT art to raise our own collective awareness to these possibilities.
Where else are you seeing growth and potential in your industry?
We bought a majority stake in our car auction partner, RM Sotheby’s, a few months ago because we see the power and the size of the collectible car market. It’s incredible.
Our luxury categories are also up significantly, more than 30% higher than last year. Even though we’re associated with the best masterpieces, 80% of our bidding goes to win objects under $25,000. Our clients aren’t just looking for the best Van Gogh—they’re buying things across 70 different categories in the 500 sales we hold each year, at all price ranges.
From sneakers to handbags to jewelry to wine and certainly collectible cars, collectors are thinking differently about these categories as well. Years ago, you’d buy a nice watch and you’d have it for your whole life. Now, you might sell it in three years because there are different ways to do that without much time or cost friction.
What parts of the world intrigue you now as potential art hubs?
Korea is an incredibly strong market, and even though we don’t host auctions there, we are paying attention to it. Hong Kong continues to be the hub despite its challenges, but we’re selling a lot to Japan, Singapore, Southeast Asia, Indonesia, Vietnam. China’s very important and obviously very large, but it’s not the only thing.
We are seeing bigger cultural ambitions across the Middle East, from the Emirates to Saudi Arabia. We’ve just opened a beautiful space in Cologne, Germany, and we have a gallery in Los Angeles. We have to engage people where they are and not wait for them to pass through New York, Paris or London.
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