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Latin American Art

Christie's

7 PM, November 21, 2006 (Lots 1-69)

10 AM, November 22, 2006 (Lots 71-279)

Sale 1729

"Shoeshine" by Botero

Lot 39, "Shoeshine," by Fernando Botero, oil on canvas, 78 by 51 1/2 inches, 1989

By Carter B. Horsley

The Latin American Art auctions at Christie's November 21 and 22, 2006 are highlighted by several excellent works by Fernando Botero and good works by Wilfredo Lam, Diego Rivera, Amelia Pelaez, Alfredo Ramos Martinez, Leonora Carrington, Tomas Sanchez, Juan O'Gorman, Antonio Segui, and Gunther Gerzso.

Fernando Botero (b. 1932) has several major works in this auction. Lot 39, "Shoeshine," is a large and wonderful painting that was executed in 1989. An oil on canvas, it measures 78 by 51 1/2 inches. It has a modest estimate of $350,000 to $450,000. It sold for $912,000.

Self portrait by Botero

Lot 60, "Self-Portrait in Costume of Velasquez," by Fernando Botero, oil on canvas, 86 by 69 inches, 1986

Lot 60 is a self-portrait by Botero in which he is dressed in a costume "of Velasquez" and with brush in hand beside an unpainted canvas is contemplating painting but not looking at his naked model, who bears no resemblance to "The Rokeby Venus" by Velasquez. The oil on canvas measures 86 by 69 inches and was executed in 1986. It has a modest estimate of $400,000 to $600,000. It sold for $1,057,600.

Another good work by Botero is Lot 5, "El Inferno," an oil on canvas that measures 35 1/2 by 27 1/2 inches. It was painted in 1978 and was once in the collection of Stanley J. Seeger. It has a modest estimte of $120,000 to $180,000. It sold for $240,000.

Lot 7, "Dancers," is a fine bronze sculpture of a dancing couple by Botero. It is number 5 of an edition of 6 and measures 46 by 25 by 13 inches. It has an estimate of $500,000 to $600,000. It sold for $632,000.

"Pepenadora" by Rivera

Lot 20, "Pepenadora," by Diego Rivera, tempera on masonite, 24 1/2 by 19 inches, 1935

Lot 20 is a classic painting of a Mexican peasant carrying a very large load by Diego Rivera (1886-1957). Entitled "Pepenadora," it is a tempera on masonite that measures 24 1/2 by 19 inches and was executed in 1935. The work is part of the National Heritage of Mexico and cannot be removed from that country and was therefore sold from the catalogue. Many such works have not fared well at auction in New York because many buyers like to see the actual work. The lot has an estimate of $400,000 to $600,000. It sold for $452,800.

"Juana Rosas" by Rivera

Lot 24, "Juana Rosas," by Diego Rivera, oil on canvas, 31 1/2 by 25 1/2 inches, 1934

Another excellent and more colorful Rivera is Lot 24, which is entitled "Juana Rosas." An oil on canvas that measures 31 1/2 by 25 1/2 inches, it was painted in 1934. This work is part of the National Heritage of Mexico and cannot leave the country and is being sold from the catalogue. It has an estimate of $400,000 to $600,000. It failed to sell.

Still life by Bravo

Lot 37, "Bodegon con paquetes, Homenaje a Sanchez Cotan," by Claudio Bravo, oil on wood panel, 39 1/2 by 47 1/4 inches, 1966

Lot 37 is an impressive still life of wrapped objects by Claudio Bravo (b. 1936). An oil on wood panel, it measures 39 1/2 by 47 1/4 inches. It was executed in 1966. It has an estimate of $300,000 to $400,000. It failed to sell.

"Mujer y su fantasma" by Tamayo

Lot 44, "Mujer y su fantasma," by Rufino Tamayo, oil on canvas, 69 by 35 inches, 1974

Lot 44 is a good oil on canvas by Rufino Tamayo that is entitled "Mujer y su fantasma." It was painted in 1974 and measures 69 by 35 inches. It has an estimate of $400,000 to $500,000. It sold for $576,000.

"Ciudad desde arriba" by Gerzso

Lot 205, "Ciudad desde arriba," by Gunther Gerzso, oil on canvas, 29 by 21 1/2 inches, 1955

Lot 205 is a strong abstraction by Gunther Gerzso (1915-2000) that is entitled "Ciudad desde arriba." An oil on canvas, it measures 29 by 21 1/2 inches and was painted in 1955. It has a modest estimate of $60,000 to $80,000. It sold for $108,000.

Double-sided work by Wilfredo Lam

Lot 11, "La Table, I (Coin d'atelier)," by Wilfredo Lam, gouache on paper, 38 5/8 by 25 1/4 inches, 1938, left; "Portrait," by Wilfredo Lam, tempera on paper, 38 5/8 by 25 1/4 inches, 1938, right

Lot 11 is a double-sided work by Wilfredo Lam (1902-1982) that is a still-life gouache on paper on one side and a portrait tempera on paper on the other side. The work, which was created in 1938, measures 38 5/8 by 25 1/4 inches. It has an estimate of $400,000 to $500,000. It failed to sell.

The catalogue entry has an essay by Lowery Stokes Sims that provides the following commentary:

""These two images mark a specific moment in Lam's stylistic evolution during the last four years of his sojourn in Spain (1934-1938) during which his work shows his interest in the work of Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso. Having arrived in Spain from Cuba in 1923 Lam had already progressed through a sturdy realist style, one that bridged symbolism and the decorative elegance of Art Nouveau, and a surrealist one - both dream-oriented and biomorphic. Through his study of the two titans of modernism Lam developed a reductive style that variously featured a linear elegance and a Cubist-inspired geometric approach....The convention of showing one eye open and the other closed can be seen in a number of compositions from 1938 that feature anguished figures seemingly awakening from nightmares or in general distress that capture the mood and ambiance of Spain in civil war....The figure also manifests the particular triangulation of the nose from the brow line and summation of the lips as two horizontal bands. Whereas some of the earlier works show more curvilinear elements the reduction of the shoulder and clavicle areas to triangles and the breast to simple half moons - here are marked with horizontal lines that are complemented by the vertical ones that delinate the figure's hair and arms. The curious half-hatching of the right cheek area seems to be a reference to a marking on one of the masked figures in Picasso's Les demoiselles d'Avignon....The still life composition features dramatic and misleading angles that both activate the composition and visually push the composition onto one plane all the while suggesting a specific perspectival event. The elements are abstracted so that they assume other identities and functions as in the case of the circular form with the triangular shape in it at the base of the carafe from which the two fish extend."

Lot 110 is an excellent untitled oil on canvas by Lam that measures 21 by 31 1/4 inches. Painted in 1959, it is a classic example of his sharply angled abstract birds has an estimate of $120,000 to $180,000. It sold for $168,000.

"Mujeres con flores" by Martinez

Lot 21, "Mujeres con flores," by Alfredo Ramos Martinez, oil on canvas, 56 1/2 by 36 inches, circa 1938

Lot 21 is a large painting of two woman with flowers by Alfredo Ramos Martinez (1872-1946). An oil on canvas that measures 56 1/2 by 36 inches, it was painted circa 1938. The handsome and highly stylized work has an estimate of $350,000 to $450,000. It sold for $1,808,000, an auction record for the artist and the highest price achieved at the auction.

"Mesa en Interior" by Pelaez

Lot 15, "Mesa en Interior," by Amelia Pelaez, oil and tempera on heavy paper laid down on canvas, 45 by 34 inches, 1943

Lot 15 is a handsome abstraction by Amelia Pelaez (1896-1968). It is entitled "Mesa en Interior" and is an oil and tempera on heavy paper laid down on canvas that measures 45 by 34 inches. It was painted in 1943 and has an estimate of $150,000 to $200,000. It sold for $240,000.

The catalogue provides the following commentary by Susan L. Aberth:

"This oil on tempera waivers between an architectonic solidity suggested by its muted tonal planes, and a graphic lyricism evident in the sinuous black lines that play across its surface. Both formally rigorous and psychologically complex, it is a quintessential expression of the arits's life-long struggle to express a Cuban identity. What makes this work unique, however, is how the melancholic color scheme combines with a virtuoso handling of paint to convey in almost Symbolist sense of emotional turblence and transcendence."

Lot 17 is a large and good landscape with a waterfall by Tomas Sanchez (b. 1948). An acrylic on canvas, it measures 48 1/4 by 59 inches and was painted in 1995. It has an estimate of $220,000 to $280,000. It sold for $620,000, an auction record for the artist.

"El reino vegetal es un pais lejano" by O'Gorman

Lot 28, "El reino vegetal es un pais lejano," by Juan O'Gorman, tempera on masonite, 15 by 22 3/4 inches, 1947

Lot 28 is a very fine landscape by Juan O'Gorman (1905-1982) that is entitled "El reino vegetal es un pais lejano." A tempera on masonite, it measures 15 by 22 3/4 inches and was painted in 1947. "For Juan O'Gorman," the catalogue entry noted, "becoming an architect was one step toward independence from his father's influence. A short step..., as in his early architectural work he sought to create functional but ascetic environments that could have been seen as machines in which to live. Shortley after finishing architectural school, around 1924, the young Juan came upon Le Corbusier's Toward an Architecture a book he read and studied over and over. He was deeply influenced by Le Corbusierss shifting away from academically designed houses to creating living spaces indended for strict functionalism that seemed to have been designed more by an engineer than by an architect. Juan built houses for his bather, brother, for Julio Castellanos, and some public buildings. but the structures for which he is best known are the twin houses he designed as Casa-Estudio for Diego Rivera and Casa-Habitacion for Frida Kahlo, stark, cube-like structures built side by side and connected by a bridge on Altavista Avenue in the suburb of San Angel. Rivera's was pink and Kahlo's was indigo."

The painting has a modest estimate of $40,000 to $60,000. It sold for $240,000.

"Ulu's pants" by Leonora Carrington

Lot 29, "Ulu's pants," by Leonora Carrington, oil and tempera on panel, 21 31/2 by 36 inches, 1952

Lot 29 is a very fine work by Leonora Carrington (b. 1917) entitled "Ula's Pants." An oil and tempera on panel that measures 21 1/2 by 36 inches, it was painted in 1952.

The catalogue provides commentary written by Salomon Grimberg in 2000:

"Exoporia, or ghost moths, make pilgrimages to The Garden of the Genie (Ulu's Pants) where a benevolent Egyptian sphinx guards the entrance to the cave that contains the primeval egg created by Khnum. Khnum was potter god of the island of Elephantine, responsible for fashioning children and their souls on his potter's wheel and placing them inside their mothers' wombs. Moreover, the sphinx also impedes the entrance to the labyrinth. The protected egg represents the future. Returning to the cave means returning to a time when were protected from the demands of being born. As adults, some settle for searing for ancient places of worship. Ultimately, the desire is material, therefore noctural. Yearning can become a way to commune with the secret of our origins. The labyrinth, however, means awareness because once we enter it, we are moving, seeking, evolving."

It has a modest estimate of $200,000 to $250,000. It sold for $296,000. In June, 2000, it sold for $138,000 at Christie's when it had an estimate of $100,000 to $150,000.

Lot 10, "Untitled," is a strong though small abstract oil on board by Joaquin Torres Garcia (1874-1949). Painted in 1929, it measures 15 1/2 by 10 3/4 inches. It has an estimate of $70,000 to $90,000. It sold for $204,000.

Lot 14 is a very fine untitled oil on paper mounted on masonite by Matta 1911-2002) that measures 13 by 16 1/3 inches. It was painted in 1941 and has a modest estimate of $80,000 to $120,000. It sold for $204,000.

Lot 34 is a fine goauche and sand on heavy Arches paper entitled "Mujer con tortuga" by Francisco Toledo (b. 1940). It measures 22 by 30 1/8 inches and was painted in 1975. It has a modest estimate of $80,000 to $120,000. It sold for $192,000.

Lot 59 is a superb large work by Antonio Segui (b. 1934) in which a very crowded, very lively urbanistic scene is superimposed over writing with mounds of skulls, numerous naked ladies, and hatted and suited men abound. An acrylic on canvas, the untitled work measures 90 by 73 inches and was painted in 1996. It has an estimate of $50,000 to $70,000. It sold for $132,000, doubling the artist's previous auction record.

Virgilio Garza, the head of Christie's Latin American Art department, said after the evening sale in which 89 percent of the 68 offered lots sold for $17,286,800, that Christie's was "thrilled with the results...which reflected the energetic forces that have been driving the mrket over the past weeks....It was...very rewarding to see 11 new records take shape for including Tomas Sanchez, Mariano Rodriquez, Augustin Cardenas and Alfredo Castaneda." The total of the evening and day sales was $21,784,880. Auction records were also set for Roberto Aizenberg ($36,000), Frans Krajcberg ($102,000), Julio le Parc ($48,000), Rodolfo Morales ($262,400), Armando Morales ($452,800), Jose Clemente Orozco ($78,000, work on paper).

See The City Review article on the Spring 2005 Latin American Art auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Fall 2005 Latin American Art auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Fall 2005 Latin American Art auction at Christie's

See The City Review article on the Fall 2004 Latin American Art auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review Article on the Spring 2004 Latin American Art auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Fall 2003 Latin American Art auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Fall 2003 Latin American Art auction at Christie's

See The City Review article on the Spring 2003 Latin American Art auction at Christie's

See The City Review article on the Spring 2003 Latin American Art auction at Sotheby's

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

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

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

See The City Review article on the Spring 2002 Latin American Art auction at Christie'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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