Small is Beautiful: Visual Value in Just a Few Inches

4 August - 27 September 2020

On the heels of the record breaking success with a very big Barnabus Muskox , I am reminded of the made up unit of measurement that is used to describe the carvings that fill most every available surface in my tiny Toronto apartment.  In order to find a spot in my home, I promise myself that a work must be “hand-sized” so as to not impinge on my already crowded living quarters. 


The term is adequately self-descriptive. “Hand-sized” carvings are masterful little works that manage to compress tremendous sculptural and visual value into just a few inches.


Since they are streamlined to fit in one’s palm, it becomes easy to envision the way that the artist would steady the stone in one hand as he or she carved with the other.  Likewise, the very act of being able to grasp a small scale work encourages its viewer to consider it from several angles as we turn it over in our hands.  To hold and examine these “hand-sized” works is to intimately appreciate their charm and their very three-dimensionality. 


I can think of no more succinct description of the charm of small sculptures than by the respected Globe and Mail, Art and Artist columnist Pearl McCarthy. In her October 1957 review of a show at the Canadian Handicraft Guild, McCarthy wrote, “All pieces should be judged not by a style but by how hard it is for the visitor to obey the request: ‘Please do not handle’” [1].


We encourage your visit and to inquire with us about holding and examining these “hand-sized” works for yourself. 


In our continued effort to support the Government of Ontario’s physical distancing guidelines and to ensure safety of our staff and community,  we are now accepting appointments to view the works in this exhibition any time between Monday and Friday 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM.  Previews will be held at  A.H. Wilkens Auctions & Appraisals, One William Morgan Drive, East York, ON.


If you are unable to attend our previews in person, our team can provide thorough and comprehensive condition reports and additional images and videos. We welcome your enquiries at or 647-286-5012.


— Nadine Di Monte


1. Pearl McCarthy, “Eskimo Carvings Developing”, The Globe and Mail (Toronto), 29 Oct 1957, p. 13.



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