Carter B. Horsley
This Latin American Art auction
May 29 and 30, 2007 is highlighted by a fine Joaquin Torres-Garcia,
two lovely paintings by Leonora Carrington, an important Mario
Carreño, five works by David Alfaro Siqueros, a good Orozco,
several works by Matta and Fernand Botero and good examples by
Rufino Tamayo, Carlos Mérida, Maria Fernanda Cardoso, and
Fernando de Szyslo.
Lot 18 is a strong painting by
entitled "Composition." An oil on canvas, it measures
31 3/4 by 25 5/8 inches and was painted in 1932, two years after
he and Michel Seuphor, a Belgian artist and poet, founded Cercle
et Carré, an association of artists that promoted abstract
art as an alternative to the increasing popularity of Surrealism.
In 1934, Torres-Garcia returned to Montevideo after an absence
of 43 years and established a teaching workshop that was, according
to the catalogue, highly influential in shaping the future of
modern art in Latin America. The artist's pictographs would later
have an impact on such artists as Adloph Gottlieb, David Smith,
Louise Nevelson. and Barney Newman. The lot has an estimate of
$1,000,000 to $1,500,000. It sold for $1,310,000 including
the buyer's premium as do all results mentioned in this article.
The artist's former world auction record was $940,000.
Lot 8 is
an impressive and
very strong work by Mario Carreño (1913-1999). Entitled
"Danza Afro-Cubana," it is a duco and cloth and rope
collage on wood panel that measures 64 7/8 by 47 7/8 inches. It
was created in 1943 and was exhibited at the Museum of Modern
Art in New York in the 1944 exhibition "Modern Cuban Painters.
catalogue provides the
fellow Cuban painter
Wilfredo Lam, Mario Carreño's work reflects a cross cultural
dialogue between vanguard modernist practices of the first half
of the twentieth century with a unique subject matter rooted in
the Caribbean's rich syncretic cultural heritage....Most notable
among the Cuban art sources studied by Cuba's young vanguard artists
were the highly accomplished works by the Frenchman Frédéric
Miahle and the Spaniard Victor Patricio Landaluze. Lured to Havana
in the mid-19th Century to work as commercial graphic artists
at the service of the blooming tobacco industry and a burgeoning
bourgeoisie, their prints, illustrations, caricatures, and paintings
were some of the first to document and celebrate the beauty of
Cuba's flora and fauna, its sugar and coffee plantations, and
its customs and social types. Of particular note are Miahle and
Landaluze's respective depiction of the Afro-Cuban celebration
of the Catholic religious Feast of the Epiphany in Havana or Dia
de los Reyes en La Habana - no doubt a historical antecedent
to Cuba's modern day popular festivals or carnivals. Central to
both compositions is the figure of the ñañigo or
masquerade dancer - a member of the secret male society known
as Abakuá that originated in the African Cross River region
of Nigeria and Cameroon and was later introduced in the Carribbean
through the slave trade. The rhythmic dance of the Abakuá
is a significant source for the modern rumba as well as other
Afro-Cuban derived musical forms.....In addition to these popular
and regional sources, Danza Afro-Cubana reflects a
of art historical references and vanguard tendencies spanning
cubist fragmentation of forms, the agitated and dynamic figural
compositions of Futurism, the experimental use of paint and the
often agressive and muscular forms of the Mexcian mural painter
David Alfaro Siqueiros whom Carreño admired, Picasso's
classical and primitivist periods, surrealism, and the ancient
frescoes of Pompei."
has an estimate of
$600,000 to $800,000. It sold for $2,760,000. The artist's
former world auction record was $456,000.
Lot 12 is a superb work by
(b. 1917) entitled "El Grito." An oil on wood panel,
it measures 15 3/4 by 35 3/8 inches and was painted in 1951. The
work, according to a catalogue entry by Susan L. Aberth, is "indicative
of a small number of semi-abstract paintings that Carrington executed
between 1950 and 1952 and keenly demonstrates how her abstract
work contains the same power and mythic spirit of her more figurative
representations. The nebulous space portrayed in El Grito
pulstates with a wide range of color and odd assortment of characters
that seem to reference primitive markings from a variety of sources.
The horizontal format of the canvas and the verticality of the
markings resemble an abstract Egyptian Book of the Dead."
The lot has a modest estimate
of $150,000 to
$200,000. It sold for $396,000.
Another fine, albeit more
is Lot 15, "Peek-a-Boo." An oil on canvas that measures
39 1/4 by 31 3/8 inches, it was painted in 1961. In the catalogue
entry, Susan L. Aberth notes that "curious things are occuring,"
adding that "A slender, red-robed figure elegantly rides
sidesaddle atop a spectral lion, while plucking a rustic harp
and singing." She notes that another tall slender figure
appears to making a large blue-green apple fly and she observes
that she believes "that the floating apple is a mischievous
wink at Rene Magritte." The lot has an estimate of $200,000
to $250,000. It sold for $336,000.
Lot 137 is a delightful
scene between some dragons and a castle by Remedios Varo (1908-1963).
A gouache on paper mounted on board, it measures 15 by 10 7/8
inches and was painted in 1947/ It has a modest estimate of $40,000
to $50,000. It sold for $120,000.
Lot 112 is a strong work by
David Alfaro Siqueiros
(1896-1974) that is entitled "Implacable Lujuria (Nombre
de un Personaje)." An oil on wood panel, it measures 18 by
11 7/8 inches and is dated 1963. While it is not as heavily impastoed
as many of his works, it is bold and very dramatic. It has a modest
estimate of $20,000 to $30,000. It sold for $39,000.
Lot 9 is a large untitled work
that is pyroxilin on masonite and measures 49 by 31 1/2 inches.
It has an estimate of $150,000 to $150,000. It sold for
an auction record for the artist.
Lot 114 is a superb study by
David Alfaro Siqueiros
for La Marcha de la Humanidad, Poliform Siqueiros,
City. This work is a gouache and acrylic on paper laid down on
board. It measures 25 by 19 3/4 inches and is dated 1968. It is
property of the collection of Bert Van Bork, a photographer and
cinematographer who made a short film on Siqueiros released in
1969 by Encyclopedia Britannica Films. The lot has a modest estimate
of $40,000 to $60,000. It failed to sell.
A large Siqueiros, Lot 30,
en El Altiplano," is part of the National Heritage of Mexico
and cannot be permanently exported and therefore is being sold
from the catalogue. It measures 47 7/8 by 39 3/8 inches and is
pyroxilin on masonite. It has an estimate of $125,000 to $175,000.
It sold for $216,000.
Lot 101 is a nice small gouache
on paper by
José Clemente Orozco (1883-1949). Entitled "Retrato
de Mujer," it measures 15 by 11 inches and has an estimate
of $18,000 to $22,000. It failed to sell.
There are several works in the
auction by Matta
(1912-2002). Perhaps the best is Lot 150, "Le Noyau du Vertige,"
a pastel and charcoal on paper that measures 69 3/8 by 63 7/8
inches and was executed circa 1990. It has a conservative estimate
of $40,000 to $60,000. It failed to sell.
Lot 50 is a good work by Matta
Gout d'Apocalypse." An oil on canvas, it measures 44 3/4
by 57 1/4 inches and was executed 1957-8. It has an estimate of
$225,000 to $275,000. It sold for $264,000.
Lot 26 is a strong work by
Matta entitled "Le
Coeur d'Helene. An oil on canvas, it measures 45 1/8 by 57 3/8
inches and was painted in 1957. It has an estimate of $175,000
to $225,000. It failed to sell and was passed at $160,000.
Lot 23 is a large and
by Matta entitled "Un Biennale." An oil on canvas, it
measures 45 1/8 by 57 3/7 inches and was executed in 1957. Here,
Matta appears to be smashing atoms with his usual pyrotechnical
mastery. The lot has an estimate of $150,000 to $200,000. It
failed to sell and was passed at $140,000.
Lot 146 is a striking albeit
by Fernando de Szyslo (b. 1925) that is entitled "Mar de
Lurín." An acrylic on canvas, it measures 59 inches
square and is dated 1989. It has a modest estimate of $15,000
to $20,000. It sold for $21,600.
A much more vibrant Szyslo is
Lot 149, "Noche
Estrellada," an oil on canvas that measures 58 3/4 by 46
3/4 inches. It has a modest estimate of $20,000 to $25,000. It
sold for $45,000.
Lot 56 is a good work by Rufino
that is entitled "Retrato Matrimoniale." An oil and
sand on canvas, it measures 37 7/8 by 51 1/8 inches and was executed
in 1967. It has been consigned by the Los Angeles County Museum
of Art. It has an estimate of $300,000 to $350,000. It sold
Lot 155 is a heated and highly
by Francisco Toledo (b. 1940) that is entitled "Torero."
An oil and sand on canvas, it measures 14 7/8 by 18 inches and
was executed circa 1964. It has a conservative estimate of $15,000
to $20,000. It sold for $14,400.
Lot 56 is a bright and rather
by Pedro Coronel (1923-1985). An oil on canvas, it measures 64
by 38 inches and is dated 1977. It has an estimate of $60,000
to $80,000. It sold for $156,000.
Lot 183 is a good abstraction
by Carlos Mérida
(1891-1984) entitled "El Conjuro." Duco and acrylic
on wood panel, it measures 27 1/2 by 20 1/4 inches and was painted
in 1962. It is being sold by the Los Angeles County Museum of
Art and was once in the collection of Lester Wolfe of New York.
It has an estimate of $35,000 to $45,000. It sold for $36,000.
Lot 198 is a nice mixed media
and rice paper
work by Paula Santiago (b. 1969). Entitled "Guerrero,"
it measures 32 by 21 1/8 inches and was executed in 1998. It has
a modest estimate of $10,000 to $15,000. It failed to sell.
Lot 49 is part of
a large wall installation of artificial white lilies that was
exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in its 2000
exhibition "Modern Starts: People, Places, Things" (see
The City Review article).
segments are in the collections of the Museum of Contemporary
Art in San Diego and several private collections. It has an estimate
of $20,000 to $30,000. It sold for $19,200.
Lot 215 is a very strong and
by Rodolfo Nieto (1936-1988). A collage and pastel on canvas,
it measures 19 5/8 by 25 1/2 inches and is dated 1966. It has
a modest estimate of $12,000 to $18,000. It sold for $9,600.
The sale total for the
two-day auction was
$21,392,800, nicely over the pre-sale high estimate of $19,732,000.
Lot 17, "Desnudo de
a sculpture by Francisco Zuniga, sold for $936,000, setting an
auction record for a sculpture by the artist.
Lot 4, "El Palito," by
sold for $180,000, an auction record for the artist.
Lot 19, "Structures
3," by Carmelo
Arden Quin, sold for $65,000, an auction record for the artist.
Lot 20, "Marco
Juan Melé, sold for $70,000, an auction record for the
Lot 21, "El Diario de
by Jorge de la Vega, sold for $360,000, an auction record for
Lot 25, an untitled
work by Agustin Cárdinas
sold for $110,000, an auction record for the artist.
Lot 40, "Composition
by Antonio Asis, sold for $40,000, an auction record for the artist.
Lot 27, "Paisaje," by
Reveron, sold for $380,000, an auction record for the artist.