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Latin American Art

Christie's

Monday, November 19, 2001, 7 PM

&

Tuesday, November 20, 10 AM

Sale 9786

"Tres Destinos," by Remedios Varo

Lot 20, "Tres destinos," by Remedios Varo, oil on masonite, 35 3/8 by 42 inches, 1956

By Carter B. Horsley

The Latin American Art sales in the fall of 2001 are a bit thin in terms of masterworks, a reflection of deteriorating economies, but there are some good paintings available.

The cover illustration of the catalogue, shown above, for this sale at Christies, November 20, 2001 at 7 PM, for example, is Lot 20, "Tres destinos," by Remedios Varo (1900-1963), a 35- 3/8-by-42 -inch oil on masonite that was executed in 1956.

One of her more highly finished works, it has the quietude of certain Italian Renaissance altarpieces but is infused with her own individual mysticism and theories of destiny and the inter-relatedness of life.

It has a slightly ambitious estimate of $500,000 to $700,000, but Varo is a major female artist of the 20th Century and an important Surrealist along with Leonora Carrington, Wilfredo Lam and Matta. It sold for $556,000 including the buyer's premium as do all prices mentioned in this article.

The auction only sold 61 percent of the 61 offered lots for $4,923,188, but the lots sold represented 78 percent of the estimated total. Although there were numerous "passes," the auction was actually quite strong and set numerous auction records for individual artists.

Lot 29, "La silla: Daghda Tuatha de Danaan," is a good example of the Surrealist work of Leonora Carrington (b. 1917). The 19 -by-15 -inch oil on canvas was executed in1955 and has an estimate of $80,000 to $100,000. This painting of a throne chair is full of mythic references to the creative powers of the sun, the fertility of Daghda and magic. It sold for $82,250.

Lot 24, "La Plume Verte," by Wilfred Lam, oil on burlap, 18 by 40 inches, 1955

Lot 24, "La Plume Verte," is an 18-by-40-inch oil on burlap painting by Wilfredo Lam (1902-1982) is unusual for its horizontal format and for its relatively strong palette. It was executed in 1955 and has an estimate of $80,000 to $100,000. It failed to sell and was "passed" at $65,000.

Matta (b. 1911) is Latin America's most formidable Surrealist and abstract painter as well as one of its most prolific artists. Lot 14, "Untitled," is a fine colored crayon on paper, 9 by 12 inches, that was drawn in 1937. It has an estimate of $150,000 to $200,000 and was once in the collections of Pierre Matisse and Acquavella galleries in New York. It sold for $160,000.



Lot 125 by Matta

Another good Matta is Lot 125, which is being offered in the day sale, November 20, 2001. It is an oil and canvas and measures . It has an estimate of $40,000 to $60,000.


Lot 16, "Bichos y flatus," by Alejandro Xul Solar, colored pencil and watercolor on board, 8 by 6 inches, 1935

A fine pendant for the Matta is a colored pencil and watercolor on board by Alejandro Xul Solar (1887-1963) is an artist of colorful whimsy. Lot 16, shown above, it is entitled "Bichos y flatus," and is a good example of his spirited designs. It measures 8 by 6 inches. It was drawn in 1935 and has a modest estimate of $40,000 to $60,000. It failed to sell and was "passed" at $26,000.

Lot 17, "Cazadores de mariposas," by Rufino Tamayo, oil on canvas, 39 1/2 by 29 1/2 inches, 1948

One of the auction's highlights is a fine painting of "Butterfly Hunters," Lot 17, shown above, by Rufino Tamayo (1899-1991). Entitled "Cazadores de mariposas," it is an oil on canvas that measures 39 by 29 inches and was painted in 1948. The catalogue notes that it was once in the collection of the San Francisco Museum of Art and that it "is an exquisite exampleof Tamayo's fully matured style of the late 1940s," adding that "Here the consolidation of technique and color theory are unmistakably his own." "Tamayo's fascination with flight and nature is well recordedBirds, and in this case butterflies, held immense significance to the artist. They were flying messengers from the cosmos, harbingers of good fortune or disaster. In this painting, these messengers are undeniably optimistic. Dancing tauntingly across the canvas, their yellow wings break the rich green and red tones of the composition. Technology is represented by the robot like figuration of the hunters themselves; their bodies broken into planes and stiff movements, unable to capture the teasing butterflies."

The lot has an estimate of $400,000 to $600,000. It sold for $446,000.

Two artists who share an earthly abstractionism with Tamayo, albeit in quite different styles, are Gunther Gerzso (1915-2000) and Francisco Toledo (b. 1940).


Lot 19, "Lugar Desconicido 1950," by Gunther Gerzso, oil on board, 16 1/8 by 24 inches, 1947

The former is represented in the auction by a very rich and dark abstraction, "Lugar Desconicido, 1950," a 16 1/8-by-24-inch oil on board. The 1947 painting, Lot 19, was among the works in the artist's first exhibition at the Galeria de Arte Mexicano. It has an estimate of $45,000 to $55,000. It sold for $64,625.




Lot 27, "Lluvia," by Francisco Toledo, gouache on paper, 22 by 29 7/8 inches, circa 1970

The latter is represented with two works, Lot 27, shown above, and Lot 28. The former is entitled "Lluvia," and is a gouache on paper that measures 22 by 29 7/8 inches. Painted circa 1970, it has an estimate of $35,000 to $40,000. It sold for $32,900. Lot 28 has the same dimensions, date and estimate and is entitled "Figura con tenedor." Lot 28 failed to sell and was passed at $26,000.

"Paquette" by Claudio Bravo

Lot 22, "Paquette," by Claudio Bravo, oil, crayon and paper laid down on board, 28 by 22 7/8 inches, 1966

Lot 22, "Paquette," is a very impressive oil crayon on paper laid down on board of a tied package by Claudio Bravo (b. 1936). Measuring 28 by 22 7/8 inches, it was executed in 1966 and has an estimate of $160,000 to $220,000. It sold for $204,000.

Retrato de la nina Dolores Reachi" by Diego Rivera

Lot 8, "Retrato de la nina Dolores Reachi," by Diego Rivera, oil on canvas, 22 5/8 by 13 1/8 inches, 1949

A very sweet and nice portrait of a girl by Diego Rivera (1886-1957) is Lot 8, entitled"Retrato de la nina Dolores Reachi." The 22 5/8-by-13 1/8-inch oil on canvas, shown above, was executed in 1949 and has an estimate of $200,000 to $250,000. It sold for $248,000.

Another Rivera, Lot 34, "Interior de Cuernavaca," is much larger and not as charming. The 67 1/2-by-79-inch oil on canvas was painted in 1954 and has an estimate of $200,000 to $250,000. It sold for $198,500. It is a portrait of Carmita Ignarra, a well-known radio star.

Lot 32, "Calabaza," is a strong painting of a calabash by Daviod Alfaro Siqueiros (1896-1974). The 22 7/8-by-29 7/8-inch piroxilin on masonite was executed in 1953 and has an esimate of $50,000 to $70,000. It sold for $76,375 and sold from the catalogue as it is a national treasure of Mexico that is not allowed outside that country.

Lot 39, "Winfield Scott marching into Mexico City," is an attractive urban scene that was painted by Winfield Ellis in 1857. The 36-by-61 1/4-inch oil on canvas has an estimate of $18,000 to $20,000 and sold for $149,000!

"Untitled (Triptych)" by Sergio Carmago

Lot 52, "Untitled (Triptych)," by Sergio Carmago, consists of three painted wood panels, each 108 inches square, 1968

Lot 52, "Untitled (Triptych)," by Sergio Carmago (1930-1990), shown above, consists of three painted wood panels, each 108 inches square. The work was executed in 1968 and was commissioned by the Banco do Brasil in New York. It has an estimate of $70,000 to $90,000. It sold for $501,000, breaking the former world auction record for the artist of $51,570 set at Christie's in New York May 28, 1998.

Other auction records were set for the following artists: Pedro Gualdi (1809-1857), Lot 40, "Vista de la Catedral y parte del Zocalo en Mexico, "$143,400; Helio Oiticica (1937-1980), Lot 56, "Parangole de aqua," which sold for $82,250; Doris Salcedo (b. 1958), Lot 58, "Sin Titulo," which sold for $78,850; Vik Muniz (b. 1961), Lot 59, "Sugar Children," which sold for $75,200; Nicholas Leiva (b. 1958), Lot 62, "Nunez perturbada," which sold for $30,550.

See The City Review article on the Latin American Art evening Auction at Sotheby's in the spring of 2001

See The City Review article on the Latin American Art evening auction at Christie's, May 30, 2001

See The City Review article on the Fall 2000 Latin American Art auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Spring Latin American Art auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Spring 2000 Latin American Art auction at Christie's

See The City Review article on the Fall 1999 Latin American Art auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Spring, 1999 Latin American Art auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on The Latin American Sale at Christie's in New York in June, 1999

Recap of Pre-Columbian Art auction at Sotheby's, Nov. 23, 1998

 

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