the weakening economy over the summer probably led some consignors
to not commit works to this fall's major auctions, this Latin
American auction at Sotheby's has a good assortment of works by
many of the most important Latin American artists.
"Inscape (Psychological Morphology No.104," shown above,
by Matta (b. 1911) is a strong, vibrant, early work by this Surrealist
master. Painted in 1939, it is an oil on canvas that measures
28 3/4 by 36 3/8 inches. It has an estimate of $800,000 to $1,200,000
reflecting its extensive exhibition history. It is the cover
of the catalogue. It sold for $1,078,250 including the
premium as do all prices mentioned in this article.
Another excellent Matta, which
is in the day
sale, November 21, 2001, is Lot 122, "Give Me One,"
a colored pencil and graphite on paper laid down on heavy paper,
that was executed in 1947. The 11 1/2-by-14 1/2-inch work, a true
connoisseur's gem, shown above, has an modest estimate of $40,000
to $60,000. The catalogue makes the following commentary on this
lot: "This Surrealist poker game, inhabitated by totemic
figures set amidst labyrinthes of glass and floating walls, typifies
the fierceness and iron wire tension found in Matta's work at
the end of his New York period."
Another Matta is Lot 53,
a very fine 1957 oil on canvas, 80 by 115 inches, which has an
estimate of $180,000 to $220,000. While not as colorful and far
more linear than than Lot 16 above, it is an excellent example
of Matta's visionary aesthetic. It sold for $192,750.
shown above, "Dos Mujeres en Rojos," a very fine 1978
acrylic and sand on canvas, 43 1/4 by 57 1/8 inches, by Rufino
Tamayo (1899-1991), has an estimate of $450,000 to $500,000. It
sold to a telephone bidder for $528,250, a quite respectable price.
Another highlight of the
auction is Lot 14,
shown above, "Autorretrato," by Francisco Toledo (b.
1940), a stunning gouache and gold leaf on paper that measures
30 by 22 inches and was executed in 1975. The lot has an estimate
of $80,000 to $100,000. It sold for $225,750, an auction
for a work by the artist on paper. This very beautiful work sold
to a bidder in the room and the audience burst into applause when
it was sold.
Toledo is Lot 113,
"Hombre y Pescado," a 12 1/2-by-19-inch gouache on paper,
shown above, that was executed circa 1967. This lot is part of
the day sale November 21, 2001, and has an estimate of $15,000
Several very good watercolors
by Diego Rivera
(1886-1957) are included in this auction. Lot 79, "Mujer
con Nino," shown above, is part of the day auction November
21, 2000. It measures 15 7/8 by 12 inches and was executed in
1946. A 1935 watercolor entitled "Tehuana Vendiendo Pinas"
that measures 15 by 10 12 inches is Lot 26 and it has an estimate
of $40,000 to $60,000. It sold $55,375. Another
watercolor is Lot 25, "El Bocadillo," which measures
7 1/4 by 10 3/4 inches and was executed circa 1950. It has an
estimate of $40,000 to $60,000 and it sold for $41,000.
watercolors are often more pleasing and lovely than his oils.
and Francisco Toledo (b. 1940).
Gerzso is one of the most consistent Latin American abstract artists
and Lot 35, "Yaxchilan," shown above, is a superb bronze
sculpture with a wonderful green patina, 26 inches high. The 1988
work is numbered4/6 and and has a modest estimate of $30,000 to
$40,000. It sold for $35,250. Gerzso was born in
but moved to Europe until he returned in 1931 and began work as
a theater costume designer. He became acquainted and influenced
by the Surrealists but evolved his own abstract geometric style
influenced in part by Cubism and Pre-Columbian Art.
the Latin american Art auction the night before at Christie's,
attendance was down this season at the auction and results were
rather disappointing despite some strong prices for individual
lots. At this sale just over two-thirds of the 57 offered lots
sold for a total $4,941,000.
good bronzes by Fernando Botero (b. 1948), Lots 8 and 54, did
quite well, but two major paintings, Lot 19 and 24, failed to
sell. Lot 8 was entitled "Roman Warrior," and the 1986
bronze, which is 147 inches high, had an estimate of $300,000
to $350,000. It sold for $445,750. Lot 54, "Woman on a Horse,"
is a 25-inch bronze that was executed in 1998. It has an estimate
of $150,000 to $200,000 and sold for $170,750.
"Familia Protestante," is a 82 3/4-by-69-inch oil on
canvas that Botero painted in 1969 and is a classic study of nudes
inan interior. It had an estimate of $450,000 to $650,000 and
was "passed" at $425,000, one of a few important lots
that were passed at one bid below their low estimates, an indication
that the reserves on those lots were very high, especially since
most bidders assume, with great merit, that the reserve is below
the low estimate. Lot 24, "Still Life with Cake," is
a 48 1/2-by-59-inch oil on canvas that Botero painted in 1983.
It had an estimate of $300,000 to $350,000 and failed to sell
and was "passed" at $220,000.
"Sandias," a bright red study of three watermelon slices,
by Tamayo, a 23 1/2-by-28 3/4-inch oil and sand on canvas, had
an estimate of $300,000 to $400,000 and was "passed"