Rob Cowley

Owner & Partner

Rob began his career in the auction industry during the spring of 2000, accepting a position as a Client Services Administrator and Accounts Clerk with a Toronto auction company. In the years that followed, Rob received training from specialists in all areas of the auction and appraisal industry, with a focus on historical and post-war Canadian art. His titles were regularly elevated by the firm to varying specialist and managerial roles, eventually acting as Vice President and chief auctioneer of the Joyner Canadian Art division. Rob's general responsibilities included securing consignments of important works of art for sale and overseeing the day to day administration and operations of the division. Through his more than thirteen years with the company, the Canadian art division grossed in excess of $90 million in sales.

In June of 2013, Rob entered a partnership with Ryan Mayberry and colleague Lydia Abbott to form Consignor Canadian Fine Art. The new partnership created a stand-alone company, based in dedicated gallery space on Toronto's Dundas Street West, across the street from the Art Gallery of Ontario. The new venture addressed the changing landscape within the Canadian auction industry, melding traditional and specialized client services with industry-leading technology. After six successful years of growth within the industry, Consignor was rebranded as Cowley Abbott. 

The Cowley Abbott team not only accepts consignments for inclusion in professionally curated and academically presented live and online auctions, but also offer the service of private purchase and sale. As an owner and managing partner in Cowley Abbott, Rob's responsibilities include overseeing the management of the company, while also providing clients with unparalleled service, focusing on the collection of consignments for the firm's auctions as well as providing formal appraisal services for varying purposes.

An arts graduate of the the University of Ottawa, Rob has also completed appraisal courses through the International Society Appraisers, the largest professional association of personal property appraisers in North America. This training allows him to provide clients with formal appraisals written to ISA and USPAP (The Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice) standards, meeting the varying appraisal needs of the Canadian art industry. In the past, Rob was a regular contributor to Arabella, a Canadian art, architecture and design magazine with distribution throughout North America.

As an auctioneer, Rob regularly donates his expert services to various fundraising events and organizations, including The Art Gallery of Mississauga, The Varley Art Gallery, TD Securities, Wildlife Preservation Canada, The Peterborough Regional Health Centre, Project Sunshine Canada, The Fred Victor Centre, The Daily Bread Food Bank, Cottage Dreams, Art For Eyes and Kids Help Phone. Rob also speaks regularly to groups about the art and auction industry, having been hosted for lectures by organizations including The Friends of Canadian Art, The Art Gallery of Hamilton, The Atwater Club, Pickering College, the RiverBrink Art Museum and Hart House.