Stone sculpture, Balancing Polar Bear, by Inuit artist Pauta Saila
Coloured pencil drawing, Travelling Figures Riding Fish Spirits, by Inuit artist Jessie Oonark
Stone sculpture, Head, by Inuit artist John Tiktak
Argillite sculpture, Panel Pipe, by unidentified Haida artist



What is First Arts?

First Arts is a new concept for the promotion and marketing of Canadian Indigenous art brought to you by a team of the nation’s foremost experts in the field. Our goal is to expand the knowledge of and reinvigorate the market for the visual arts of Canada’s First Peoples in Canada and internationally.


Who is First Arts?

First Arts is a team of four of Canada’s most knowledgeable and internationally respected specialists in the Inuit art field, with 150 years of combined experience in marketing Indigenous art. Patricia Feheley and Mark London operate prestigious galleries in Toronto and Montreal respectively, while Duncan McLean and Ingo Hessel are the two biggest names in Indigenous art auctions. Collectively we also have decades of experience in the fields of education, writing, publishing, museum curatorship, consulting, appraisals, and working directly with artists.


Why are we doing this?

We want to share our love of Indigenous arts with a new generation of collectors, showing them just how fantastic Canada’s Indigenous arts are. In our opinion the public’s general knowledge, understanding and appreciation of Canada’s Indigenous art has waned since the heady days of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. Given the recent growing public awareness and interest in political, social and environmental issues relating to Canada’s First Peoples, we feel this is a good time to raise awareness of their accomplishments in the visual arts. Although our focus is primarily the promotion of older works in the secondary market, we feel that our efforts will also help to stimulate new interest in the work of contemporary Indigenous artists.


How will we do this?

Auction and retail selling each have their own particular advantages and disadvantages. Collectively the experts at First Arts are able to offer consignors the best of both worlds!

In order to maximize the value for each work in a collection, we will make recommendations to direct each piece to its appropriate sales venue: auction (live auction, curated online, online), or retail gallery setting (physical and/or online exhibition).

Not only will this methodology offer added value for the consignor, but by providing insightful information about each artwork we will also bolster awareness of, and respect for, the artists and their works. We will embark on an ambitious program of printed and online catalogues and commentaries. With our emphasis on quality, thoughtful presentation, and a learning experience, we are certain that the First Arts imprimatur will prove invaluable to seasoned and beginner collectors alike.


When do we start?

We have already begun! We are busy collecting works for both auction and retail. Our inaugural First Arts live auction will be held at Waddington’s in Toronto on May 28th, 2019. Click here to preview select works in this auction. And click here to view works that are available for immediate sale.


If you are interested in consigning or require additional information please contact
 Ingo Hessel: or 613.818.2100.



Ingo Hessel began working at the federal government’s Canadian Inuit Art Information Centre in 1983. He has authored several books and museum exhibition catalogues including the landmark “Inuit Art: An Introduction,” lectured and taught university courses, held curatorial appointments in Toronto and Phoenix, and conducted numerous research trips to the Arctic. Ingo curated semi-annual catalogued auctions of Inuit & First Nations art at Walker’s Auctions from 2011 to 2018.

Patricia Feheley, daughter of the early Inuit art champion and pioneer dealer M.F. “Budd” Feheley, has worked with Inuit art for over four decades. Feheley Fine Arts is one of Canada’s premier Inuit art galleries, specializing in nurturing and promoting contemporary artists. Patricia has travelled north continuously for forty years, consults extensively and holds board positions at the Inuit Art Foundation and the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board.

Duncan McLean, a second-generation art auctioneer, is president of Waddington’s Auctioneers & Appraisers in Toronto and head of its Inuit art department. He has some forty years’ experience working with Inuit and First Nations art, and has handled many of Canada’s foremost private collections. Duncan is a recognized expert in Canadian art as well, and has a special interest in leveraging technology, social media and strategic partnerships in the marketing of art.

Mark London, also a second-generation art dealer, grew up working at Montreal’s Galerie Elca London when it specialized in Canadian and international art with a sideline in Inuit art. Assuming the helm of the gallery in the late 1980s, Mark transformed it into one of the preeminent Inuit galleries in the country, specializing in older, classic works. Mark has extensive appraisal and consulting experience and serves on the board of the Art Dealers Association of Canada.





First Arts
Ingo Hessel:

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