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Latin American Art

Sotheby's

Tuesday, November 20, 2001, 7 PM

&

Wednesday, November 21, 10:15 AM

Sale 7735

"Inscape (Psychological Morphology No. 104" by Matta

Lot 16, "Inscape (Psychological Morphology No. 104," by Matta, oil on canvas, 28 3/4 by 36 2/8 inches, 1939

By Carter B. Horsley

Although 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.

Lot 16, "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 illustration of the catalogue. It sold for $1,078,250 including the buyer's premium as do all prices mentioned in this article.

"Give Me One," by Matta

Lot 122, "Give Me One," by Matta, colored pencil and graphite on paper laid down on heavy paper, 11 1/2 by 14 1/2 inches, 1947

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, "Untitled," 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.

"Dos Mujeres en Rojos" by Rufino Tamayo

Lot 12, "Dos Mujeres en Rojos," by Rufino Tamayo, acrylic and sand on canvas, 43 1/4 by 47 1/8 inches, 1978

Lot 12, 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.

"Autorretrato" by Francisco Toledo

Lot 14, "Autorretrato," by Francisco Toledo, gouache and gold leaf on paper, 30 by 22 inches, 1975

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 record 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.



"Hombre y Pescado" by Francisco Toledo

Lot 113, "Hombre y Pescado," by Francisco Toledo, gouache on paper, 12 1/2 by 19 inches, circa 1967

Another 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 to $20,000.

"Mujer con Nino" by Diego Rivera

Lot 79, "Mujer con Nino," by Diego Rivera, watercolor and ink on thin paper, 15 7/8 by 12 inches, 1946

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 nice Rivera 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. Rivera's watercolors are often more pleasing and lovely than his oils.

Gunther Gerzso (1915-2000) and Francisco Toledo (b. 1940).

"Yaxchilan" by Gunther Gerzso

Lot 35, "Yaxchilan," by Gunther Gerzso, bronze, 26 inches high, 1988, numbered 4/6

Gunther 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 Mexico 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.

Like 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.

Two very 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.

Lot 19, "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.

Lot 22, "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" at $275,000!



See The City Review article on the November 19, 2001 Latin American Art evening auction at Christie's

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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