Nicholas de Grandmaison

Canadian [1892-1978]

Order of Canada, Royal Canadian Academy of Arts

Descended from French and Russian aristocracy, Nicholas de Grandmaison had a cultured upbringing, studying music, art, history and languages. At 19, he enlisted in the Russian Army and served during World War I, where he became a German prisoner of war. 

During his four years of internment, he turned to portraiture as a diversion, painting fellow officers, and even German officers. After the war, he eventually made his way to London, where his courtly manners and charm helped him gain admission to the St. John’s Wood School of Art and to secure painting commissions.

De Grandmaison emigrated to Canada in 1923, listed officially as a “farm worker”, though once arriving in Manitou, Manitoba, it became clear that he had no affinity or desire for farm work. He joined the Art Club of Winnipeg, secured work at a printing/engraving firm, and was soon again seeking commissions – these were often of children, though he would later say that he did not like to paint children “for they have not lived enough or suffered enough to have interesting faces.”

In 1930, on a trip to The Pas, in northern Manitoba, de Grandmaison was first exposed to First Nations people living in a traditional setting . He was immediately captivated and sought out opportunities to draw them. It became his mission in life. He travelled west of Winnipeg and to various Cree communities in Saskatchewan, then to Southern Alberta where he encountered the Blackfoot, Sarcee, Peigan, Stoney, and Blood Tribes. 

After a period of living and teaching in Calgary, the de Grandmaisons finally settled in Banff, where Nicholas would set up his home and studio. De Grandmaison held a romantic vision of the Plains Indians as the aristocrats of North America; he felt a strong affinity with them, perhaps as a result of having experienced the destruction of his own culture during the Russian Civil War.

De Grandmaison’s greatest contribution is in the artistic preservation of First Nations people, to which he devoted four decades . Whether drawing a great Chief, an elder, a warrior, or a mother and child, his dignified and emotive portraits capture not only the essence of the individual as a person, but as a member of a proud and ancient people.

Nicholas de Grandmaison’s honours include membership in the Royal Canadian Academy, the Order of Canada, and an honourary degree from the University of Calgary. Yet his greatest tribute came upon his death in 1978, when Nicholas de Grandmaison (Enuk-sapop or Little Plume) was buried on the Peigan Reserve, having been made an Honorary Chief in 1959.

Nicholas de Grandmaison photo portrait

A Few Notable Results from Hodgins Art Auctions from Nicholas de Grandmaison

Nicholas de Grandmaison

PORTRAIT, INDIAN BRAVE
pastel on paper
18.75 x 13.75 in.

Sold for $ 46,000 – November 2006
A record price at auction for Nicholas de Grandmaison

Nicholas de Grandmaison

UNTITLED, INDIAN PORTRAIT
pastel on paper
26 x 20.25 in.

Sold for $ 46,000 – November 2006

Nicholas de Grandmaison

MOTHER AND CHILD
pastel on paper
25 x 21 in.

Sold for $ 35,100 – May 2017

Nicholas de Grandmaison

SITTING EAGLE – JOHN HUNTER (1874-1970)
pastel on paper
24 x 18.5 in.

Sold for $ 35,100 – May 2017

Nicholas de Grandmaison

WOLF TAIL (APISOH’SOYI), PEIGAN – BROCKETT, ALBERTA
pastel on paper
16.5 x 11.75 in.

Sold for $ 35,100 – May 2018

Nicholas de Grandmaison

UNTITLED, PORTRAIT
oil on canvas
24 x 18 in.

Sold for $ 35,100 – November 2022

We are always seeking works by Nicholas de Grandmaison to be included in future auctions.

If you are interested in selling with us, or wish to get our opinion of the value of your artworks, please contact us for an appointment to evaluate your artwork for auction.

Alternately, you can easily submit details of your artworks through our Request of Auction Estimates form.

More Extensive Results from our Previous Auctions by Nicholas de Grandmaison

4,500.00
Price Realized: $

Artist: Nicholas de Grandmaison

Title: PORTRAIT OF A CHILD WITH SCARF AND BEADS

Medium: pastel on sandpaper

Dimensions: 10.5 x 8 in. (26.7 x 20.3 cm)

Notes:

signed lower left
Provenance: Heritage Galleries, Calgary AB (stamp verso); Collection of Dr. William Kindrachuk (Calgary AB) and by descent to family.

4,000.00
Estimate:
6,000.00
 - 

LOT: 116

Auction: 2024 February - Prices Realized

900.00
Price Realized: $

Artist: Nicholas de Grandmaison

Title: THE OLD STORE, MORLEY, ALBERTA

Medium: oil on paper laid on board

Dimensions: 7.75 x 11 in. (19.7 x 27.9 cm)

1,000.00
Estimate:
2,000.00
 - 

LOT: 83

Auction: 2023 December | Hodgins Art Auctions

840.00
Price Realized: $

Artist: Nicholas de Grandmaison

Title: MT EISENHOWER, BANFF, ALTA

Medium: oil on canvas

Dimensions: 4.5 x 5.5 in. (11.4 x 14 cm)

Notes:

titled verso

1,000.00
Estimate:
1,500.00
 - 

LOT: 87

Auction: 2023 December | Hodgins Art Auctions

4,200.00
Price Realized: $

Artist: Nicholas de Grandmaison

Title: MRS. RAW EATER, NORTH BLACKFOOT_x000D_

Medium: pastel on paper

Dimensions: 23 x 19 in. (58.4 x 48.3 cm)

Notes:

signed lower right; titled on the gallery label verso
Provenance: Loch Gallery (Toronto-Calgary-Winnipeg); Kinnear Collection (Calgary AB); Calgary Stampede, Western Art Auction

5,000.00
Estimate:
7,000.00
 - 

LOT: 147

Auction: 2023 December | Hodgins Art Auctions

16,100.00
Price Realized: $

Artist: Nicholas de Grandmaison

Title: MOTHER OF E.L. SMALL LEG; STANDOFF

Medium: pastel on paper

Dimensions: 10 1/2 x 8 in.

Notes:

signed & titled

6,000.00
Estimate:
8,000.00
 - 

LOT: 159

Auction: 2006 May | Hodgins Art Auctions

46,000.00
Price Realized: $

Artist: Nicholas de Grandmaison

Title: UNTITLED (PORTRAIT-INDIAN BRAVE)

Medium: pastel on paper

Dimensions: 19 x 14 in.

Notes:

signed

14,000.00
Estimate:
18,000.00
 - 

LOT: 36

Auction: 2006 November | Hodgins Art Auctions

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Since 1983, Hodgins Art Auctions is your trusted source for buying and selling art by Nicholas de Grandmaison and other important Canadian artists.

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