Carter B. Horsley
Latin American Art auctions
May 28 and May 29, 2008 at Christie's feature numerous fine works
by Leonora Carrington, one of the world's great Surrealists, and
excellent works by Rufino Tamayo, Pedro Coronel, Francisco Toledo,
Claudio Bravo and Wilfredo Lam.
evening sale sold 83
percent of the 80 lots offered and the day sale sold 82 percent
of the offered lots. The two-day total was $33,862,360 and Christie's
expert Virgilio Garza described the auction as "historic,"
adding that it demonstrates "the vitality and vigorous ascent
of the Latin American art market.
cover illustration of the
auction's catalogue is Lot 25, "Juggler," by Leonora
Carrington (b. 1917). An oil on canvas, it is 37 1/2 inches squareand
although it is not one of her more colorful works, it is a very
full and detailed composition. It was painted in 1954 and has
an estimate is $600,000 to $800,000. It sold for $713,000,
nicely above the artist's previous auction of $633,600 set July
18, 2007 at Christie's.
colorful and simpler
composition by Carrington is Lot 27, "Step-Sister's Hen,"
an oil and tempera on wood panel that measures 36 by 20 3/4 inches.
It was painted in 1952 and has a modest estimate of $150,000
to $200,000. It sold for $361,000.
is a very strong work
by David Alfaro Siqueiros (1896-1974) that is entitled "Sol
Mar-Tierra." A pyroxilin on board, it measures 47 3/4 by
82 1/4 inches, it was executed in 1971. It has a modest estimate
of $70,000 to $90,000. It sold for $193,000. It is
for his most ambitious mural cycle, "La Marcha de la Humanidad
for the Politoforum Cultural Siqueiros."
is an early and bright
oil on canvas by Rufino Tamayo (1899-1991) that is entitled "Trovador."
An oil on canvas, it measures 60 3/8 by 50 inches and was executed
in 1945. It has been consigned by Randolph College in Lynchburg,
Virginia, and has an estimate of $2,000,000 to $3,000,000. It
was once in the collection of Stephen C. Clark. It wasexhibited
at the Valentine Gallery in New York in early 1946. It sold
for $7,209,000, a world auction record for a Latin American artist.
Tamayo's previous auction record was $2,587,600 set May 17, 1993
at Christie's in New York.
better Tamayo at least
in terms of technique and style is Lot 56, "Fantasma (Ghostly
Apparition), an oil, sand, and marble dust on canvas that measures
51 by 37 1/4 inches. Created in 1982, it has been consigned by
the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to benefit its acquisitions
of Latin American Art. It has an estimate of $300,000 to $400,000.
It sold for $541,000.
catalogue entry by Abby
McEwen remarks that "Celebrated for his color, Tamayo shows
here his refinement and intelligence as a colorist. Within the
limited palette of grey he draws out a richness of tones that
suggests the ambiguities of beig and of life itself....Gey becomes
an intimate metaphor for Tamayo's existential preoccupations,
and in Ghost its grounded emotional range finds a
complement in the gravity and quietude with which the artist treats
two-panel of curtains by
Claudio Bravo (b. 1936), Lot 50, "Annunciation," had
an estimate of $800,000 to $1,200,000. Each panel of oil on canvas
measures 78 1/4 by 59 inches. The work was completed in 1998.
It sold for $1,273,000.
"La familia de
elefantes," by Francisco Toledo (b. 1940), is an watercolor
and ink on paper that measures 22 by 29 3/4 inches. Executed in
1977, it has an estimate of $180,000 to $220,000. One of his
simpler but always lovely compositions, it sold for $265,000.
is a large oil on canvas
by Pedro Coronel (1923-1985) that is entitled "La Guerra
Florida." It measures 44 by 106 inches and was painted in
1958. It has an estimate of $200,000 to $300,000. It sold for
$457,000, significantly higher than the artist's previous auction
record of $307,200 set at Christie's in May, 2005.
catalogue provides the
aftermath of the
Second World War, a new generation of Mexican artists started
to resist the institutionalization of the Mexican School and the
didacticism of the muralist movement, felt to be too insular and
propagandistic. Taking a cue from the constructive colorism of
Rufino Tamayo, the young artists of La Ruptura, led by José
Luis Cuevas and Pedro Coronel, reacted against what Cuevas called
the 'Cactus Curtain,' and declared their art to be "against
vulgarity and mediocrity. Against superficiality and conformity.
Against the standardized opinions that are parroted over and over
again....Champions of artistic freedom, this nascent avant-garde
opened Mexico to international trends, from Abstract Expressionism
to Pop Art, and catalyzed the neofiguration of the 1950s, which
saw the return to an expressionist portrayal of the human figure
in the work of Coronel and his contemporaries."
Lot 3 is
a strong small oil
on canvas by Wilfredo Lam (1902-1982). Entitled "Untitled
(Idoli)," it is an oil on canvas that measures 19 7/8 by
15 3/4 inches and was painted circa 1968. It has an estimate of
$85,000 to $120,000. It sold for $193,000.
is a very good composition
by Matta (1911-2002) that is an oil on canvas that measures 25
3/8 by 31 5/8 inches. Painted in 1949, it has a modest estimate
of $150,000 to $200,000. It sold for $289,000.
is a very striking and
excellent abstraction by Gunther Gerzso (1915-2000). Entitled
"Muro Gris - Paisaje de Grecia," it is an oil on masonite
that measures 19 1/8 by 23 1/8 inches. Painted in 1962, it has
a modest estimate of $60,000 to $80,000. It sold for $103,000.
is a very nice, Braquesque
work by Juan Soriano (1920-2006) entitled "Lupe Marin V."
An oil on canvas, it measures 88 by 34 1/2 inches. Lupe is the
short name for Guadalupe and Guadalupe Marin Preciado was the
second wife of Diego Rivera. Painted in 1962, it has a conservative
estimate of $40,000 to $60,000. It sold for $97,000.
is an immensely charming
abstract painting of two red bicycles by Soriano. Painted in 1955,
it is an oil and tempera on canvas that mreasures 36 by 46 inches.
It has a modest estimate of $50,000 to $70,000. It sold for
$217,000, breaking the artist's former auction record of $96,000
that was set May 31, 2007 at Christie's in New York.
is a large abstraction
in gold leaf on wood by Mathias Goeritz (1915-1990). Entitled
"Mensaje," it measures 53 1/8 by 48 inches and was executed
circa 1959. It comes from the Casa Prieto-Lopez by Luis Barragan,
the great architect who often collaborated with Goeritz. It has
an estimate of $200,000 to $300,000. It sold for $265,000 and
is as stunning as a similar work by Yves Klein that sold for millions
of dollars this season.
is a superb Modernist
work by Mario Carreño (1913-1999), entitled "Metalurgico."
A pastel and charcoal on paper, it measures 25 1/2 by 19 1/2 inches.
Executed in 1938, it has a modest estimate of $20,000 to $25,000.
It sold for $49,000.
wonderful gouache and ink
on paper that was designed by Wilfredo Lam (1902-1982) for an
exhibition catalogue, Lot 114," measures 24 by 31 1/2 inches
and is a very fine example of his art. It has a modest estimate
of $25,000 to $35,000. It sold for $73,000.
Varo and Leonora Carrington
are the two greatest female Latin American artists after Frida
Kahlo and both are captured in interesting photographs by Kati
Horna (1912-2000). Lot 139 depicts Varo around 1957 wearing a
mask made by Carrington and Horta and Lot 140 depicts Carrington
in a Italian Renaissance setting and was made in 1987. Lot 139
has a modest estimate of $4,000 to $6,000. It sold for
Lot 140 has an estimate of $8,000 to $12,000. It sold for
is a "red mask"
created by Carrington circa 1950. It measures 22 1/2 by 21 1/2
by 2 inches. It has an estimate of $15,000 to $20,000. It
is Lot 142, "Lepidoptero (also known as To Be an Insect),"
a painted wood sculpture created circa 1952. It measures 28 by
6 1/2 by 6 inches. It has an estimate of $25,000 to $30,000. It
sold for $27,400.
is a Carrington painting on wood panel that measures 21 1/4 by
36 inches. Created in 1953 it is one of her more simple and less
imaginative works. The "brothers" are the artist's two
sons, Gabriel and Pablo. It has an estimate of $80,000 to $120,000.
It sold for $169,000.
is a small oil on board
by Carrington entitled "Myth of 1,000 Eyes." It measures
only 4 7/8 bu 3 1/4 inches and was painted circa 1950. Despite
its small size, it has a formidable presence. It has a modest
estimate of $15,000 to $20,000. It sold for $27,400.
is not as abstract and surreal as many compositions by Matta
but it has a marvelous cool geometry. An oil on canvas, it measures
34 1/2 by 47 1/3 inches and was painted in 1958. It has an estimate
of $70,000 to $90,000. It sold for $121,000.
cover illustration of the
day auction catalogue is Lot 152, "Los alucinados,"
by Pedro Coronel (1923-1985). An oil on canvas, it measures 7
1 3/8 by 55 inches and was painted in 1959. It has an estimate
of $120,000 to $180,000. It sold for $385,000.
is a striking portrait
of Diego Rivera's second wife by Juan Soriano (1920-2006). Entitled
"Lupe Marín No. X," it is an oil on canvas that
measures 34 1/2 by 35 1/4 inches. Painted in 1967, it has a modest
estimate of $35,000 to $45,000. It sold for $55,000.
is an intriguing and
very good oil and sand on burlap by Francisco Toledo (b. 1940).
Entitled "Person in Red #2," it measures 16 1/2 by 13
inches and was executed circa 1962-3. It has an estimate of $20,000
to $25,000. It sold for $39,400.
is a strong composition
entitled "Murcielago cobrizo" by Francisco Toledo. A
gouache and copper leaf on paper, it measures 11 1/4 by 15 inches
and was executed in 2002. It has a modest estimate of $12,000
to $18,000. It sold for $29,800.
is a good small work
by Rufino Tamayo entitled "Cabeza." An oil and sand
on canvas, it measures 12 by 9 7/8 inches and was painted in 1972.
It has a modest estimate of $60,000 to $80,000. It sold for