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Latin American Art

Christie's

7PM, Nov. 20 (Lots 1-64)

10AM, Nov. 21 (Lots 65-164)

Sale 1154


"Dos personajes" by Tamayo

Lot 28, "Dos personajes," by Rufino Tamayo, oil and sand on canvas, 38 3/8 by 51 1/4 inches, 1968

By Carter B. Horsley

This Latin American art auction at Christie's is highlighted by fine works by Rufino Tamayo (1899-1991), Diego Rivera (1886-1957), Fernando Botero (b. 1982), Wilfredo Lam (1902-1982), Alejandro Xul Solar (1887-1983), Carlos Merida (1891-1994), Claudio Bravo (b. 1936) and David Alfaro Siqueiros (1896-1974).

"Ballarinas" by Tamayo

Lot 25, "Ballarinas," by Rufino Tamayo, oil on canvas, 46 by 36 inches, 1942

The cover illustration of the auction's catalogue is Lot 25, "Ballarinas," by Rufino Tamayo, aa 46-by-36-inch oil on canvas. Executed in 1942, it has an estimate of $800,000 to $1,000,000. It sold for $889,500 including the buyer's premium as do all results mentioned in this article. The evening portion of the auction totalled $4,911,995 with 66 percent of the 62 offered lots selling.

In his catalogue essay on "Ballarinas," Juan Carlos Pereda provides the following commentary:

"Ballerinas from 1942 is without doubt one of the most beautiful works ever painted by Tamayo. It is a canvas where new and ancient ideas synthesize. This painting demonstrates the great aesthetic reach that the artist had achieved until that moment, clearly showing the splendor of Tamayo's mature poetics through his pictorial language. The monolithic rendering of Ballarinas also suggests three-dimensional space. At first glance, these dancers would appear as priestesses that far from being stoic, are concentrated on the ecstasies of their performance. The elegant execution and slow movements appear to be part of a ritual, which would have to do more with the sacred than with the profane. The bodies of the dancers are rounded and heavy; no unlike the sculpture Tamayo executed of Olga, the woman he married in 1934. In neither case attempting to make a portrait, but instead managing to codify a standard of beauty. Ballarinas constitues a great example of Rufino Tamayo as an accomplished colorist. The more restraint this use of of color, the more significant its expressiveness. The violent contrast of the different ranges of reds, blues and blacks that saturate this scene succeed in concentrating our attentionin the figures performing this eternal dance."

While the depicted figures certainly have a stateliness and are almost Picassoesque, this is quite a somber, albeit rich, painting in contrast to many of the artist's more brilliantly colored works such as Lot 28, "Dos personajes," shown at the top of this article, an oil and sand on canvas, 38 3/8 by 51 1/4 inches. "Dos personajes" was executed in 1968 and was once in the collection of Harry Abrams of New York. It has a very modest estimate of $150,000 to $200,000. It sold for $251,500.

"Arcángel" by Botero

Lot 41, "Arcángel," by Fernando Botero, oil on canvas, 59 1/4 by 51 1/4 inches, 1985

Fernando Botero is represented by several works in this auction. Lot 41, "Arcángel," shown above, is a 59 1/4-by-51 1/4-inch oil on canvas was executed in 1985. It has an estimate of $220,000 to $260,000 and is a classic example of the artist's humor and style. It sold for $218,500. Lot 40 is a delightful bronze statue of a cat that is 21 inches high and was executed in 2000 in an edition of 6. It has an estimate of $150,000 to $200,000. It sold for $174,500. Lot 29, "La France," is a bronze sculpture of a reclining woman that is 51 1/4 inches long. Executed in 1985, it has an estimate of $300,000 to $400,000.

"Untitled" by Lam

Lot 12, "Untitled," by Wilfredo Lam, oil on paper laid down on canvas, 36 3/8 by 30 1/4 inches, circa 1942

Lot 12, "Untitled," is a pleasant Matissesque portrait of a woman by Wilfredo Lam, who is best known for his spiky abstractions. The painting is an oil on paper laid down on canvas, 36 3/8 by 30 1/4 inches, chat was executed circa 1942. It has an estimate of $140,000 to $180,000. It sold for $45,410!

"Planetario" by Merida

Lot 123, "Planetario," by Carlos Merida, oil on canvas, 31 1/2 by 26 1/8 inches, 1965

Carlos Merida is best known for his geometric abstractions that are usually painted in earth tones. Lot 123, "Planetario," shown above, is an unusually "cool" abstraction by Merida that is particularly striking. The oil on canvas measures 31 1/2 by 26 1/8 inches and was executed in 1965. It has a very modest estimate of $15,000 to $20,000. It sold for $31,070.

"Scie le desir" by Matta

Lot 83, "Scie le desir," by Matta, acrylic on canvas, 23 1/2 by 28 3/4 inches, 1957

Lot 83, "Scie le desir," is an excellent work by Matta. An acrylic on canvas, it measures 23 1/2 by 28 3/4 inches and was executed in 1957. It has a modest estimate of $55,000 to $75,000. It sold for $53,775.

"Mountain Spirits" by Siqueiros

Lot 81, "Mountain Spirits," by David Alfaro Siqueiros, pryoxylin on panel, 27 1/2 by 25 inches, 1954

David Alfaro Siqueiros is one of the greatest Latin American artists and Lot 81, "Mountain Spirits," is a fine example of his bold style and painterliness. The pyroxylin on panel measures 27 1/2 by 25 inches and was executed in 1954. It has a modest estimate of $40,000 to $60,000. It was withdrawn.

Lot 31, "In the studio," by Claudio Bravo, oil on canvas, 51 1/4 by 39 5/8 inches, 1974

Claudio Bravo is one of the world's great realist painters and this auction has two related lots by him, Lot 30, "Le jouer de guitare," an charcoal and pencil on paper that measures 45 1/2 by 38 inches, executed in 1974, and Lot 31, "In the studio," shown above, which shows Lot 30 on an easel in the artist's studio and measures 51 1/4 by 39 5/8 inches. It was painted in the same year as Lot 30 and it has an estimate of $180,000 to $220,000. It sold for $95,600! Lot 30 has an estimate of $80,000 to $120,000. It sold for $45,410!

"Pendulum" by Fonseca

Lot 43, "Pendulum," by Gonzalo Fonseca, carved limestone with metal, wood and thread elements, 62 inches high, 1983

Lot 43, "Pendulum," is a stunning limestone, metal and wood sculpture with thread elements by Gonzalo Fonseca (1922-2000). The 62-inch-high, unique work was executed in 1983 and has an estimate of $100,000 to $150,000. It sold for $229,500.

Lot 86, "Ojos azules," is a fine abstraction by Alejandro Xul Solar (1887-1963). The gouache and watercolor on paper laid down on board measures 7 by 9 inches and was executed in 1923. It has an estimate of $40,000 to $60,000. It failed to sell.

Lot 15, "Mujer indegena con elotes (Indian woman with corn)," is a 26 1/2-by-19 5/8 inch oil on canvas by Diego Rivera (1886-1957). Painted in 1926, it has an ambitious estimate of $400,000 to $600,000. It sold for $295,500.

Lot 18, "Construtif avec ritmes dentels," by Joaquin Torres-Garcia (1874-1949), an oil on canvas that measures 33 1/2 by 21 1/2 inches and was executed in 1931, sold for $361,500, considerably above its high pre-sale estimate of $250,000.

Lot 42, "Tres desnudos, viaducto, bicicletas," a 44 7/8-by-36 5/8-inch oil and beeswax on canvas by Armando Morales (b. 1927) sold for $185,000 and had a high pre-sale estimate of $160,000. It was executed in 1996.

 

  

See The City Review article on the Fall 2002 Latin American Art auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Fall 2001 Latin American Art evening auction at Sotheby's

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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