Carter B. Horsley
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
catalogue entry has an
essay by Lowery Stokes Sims that provides the following commentary:
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
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
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
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.
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.
catalogue provides the
following commentary by Susan L. Aberth:
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
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."
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.
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."
painting has a modest estimate
of $40,000 to $60,000. It sold for $240,000.
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.
catalogue provides commentary
written by Salomon Grimberg in 2000:
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,
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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).