Only oil painting of Pooh sold for $285,000 to the City of Winnipeg

January 4, 2001
Photo of a Pooh oil painting

He's spent three decades crossing the globe to find the greatest works of art. But it might have taken David Loch's most recent acquisition -- an illustration of a little yellow bear -- to really show Manitobans the big picture. With a vision only an internationally recognized art dealer could have, the Winnipeg entrepreneur has launched a high-profile effort to bring Winnie the Pooh's story full-circle.

In addition to Winnipeg's destiny, it was the imaginations of its children that the 52-year-old art connoisseur had in mind Nov. 16 while pitching the city's offer for the one-of-a-kind work. Under the glare of television lights and surrounded by national media in a Toronto hotel, Loch appeared cool while shelling out a cooler $285,000 via telephone to London auction house Sotheby's for the 1930s-era picture.

"When he believes in something, he just has to go and do it," said Pam Lloyd, whose Assiniboine Park Gallery Museum -- another attraction born from Loch's vision -- will likely become a temporary home to E.H. Shepard's artwork when it arrives from England in several months' time.

As for works in progress, Loch is focused on upcoming overseas trips to arrange for the Pooh painting's homecoming. After that, he'll press ahead with the proposed Poohseum, which he sees as a tourist mecca and a place for Winnipeggers to connect with their furry forebear. "It's what we can do with the painting. And what we can do with our imaginations within this thing that's bigger than all of us, called Winnie the Pooh."

Read more about the history of Winnie the Pooh on our history page.