Christie’s Latin American Auction Offers Works by Botero, Matta and Tamayo

. October 27, 2009

On November 17 and 18, Christie’s will offer an exceptional selection of works by leading artists representing 15 countries in its Latin American Sale. Rich in offerings from private collections, the two-day auction offers works by leading Latin American artists such as Fernando Botero, Claudio Bravo, Joaquín Torres-García, Wifredo Lam, Matta, and Rufino Tamayo, among others. Featuring over 250 works, the sale is expected to realize in excess of $15 million. Fernando Botero is well represented in the sale with major examples of the breadth and scope of his best artistic output. Exceptional works on paper, sculptures and paintings from the great Colombian master will be offered in both the Evening and Day sales. Leading the Evening Sale selection is Botero’s “Mujer fumando” (estimate: $800,000-1,200,000), a glorious, monumental bronze in which the artist plays out the exquisite contradiction between the hard bronze and the softness of his subject. An iconic example of one of the artist’s most beloved themes, “Mujer fumando” depicts a sumptuous reclining nude; the embodiment of Botero’s own interpretation of the feminine ideal.

Botero’s “The Patio”, (estimate: $500,000-700,000), from 2000 is a vibrant and striking painting with references to Latin American domestic life, architecture and nature. Also by the artist is an exquisite and rare work on paper, “Mother and Child”, 1990, (estimate: $450,000-650,000), which graces the sale’s catalogue cover. Considered one of the finest examples of his work in this medium, the gleaming, transparent washes of color and maternal theme discreetly nod to both the technical and thematic legacy of the artist’s art historical references.

Matta
Matta, “Crucisphere”. Estimate: $350,000-450,000. Photo: Christie’s Images Ltd. 2009

A superb group of major paintings from the 1940s and 50s by the Surrealist master, Matta, all presented for the first time at auction, are being offered at attractive estimates. Leading this impressive selection of works is a 1948 painting entitled “Crucisphere”, (estimate: $350,000-450,000). The present painting reveals Matta’s exploration of linear and spatial relations, and his experimentation with movement, and color. This work was one of the highlights exhibited at the artist’s MoMA retrospective in 1957. Other works include “Eupure”, 1944 (estimate: $350,000-350,000); “Horror is not Truth”, 1948 (estimate: $150,000-200,000), and “Qui insuffle le printemps”, 1952-1958 (estimate: $250,000-350,000). Also being offered is a master work by Chilean artist Claudio Bravo, “White, Blue and Yellow Papers” (estimate: $400,000-600,000). Possessing a luminous, transcendental and other-worldly quality, the present work is from a series depicting creased, colored paper and is considered by many to be the greatest achievement of Bravo’s career.

A superb group of works by Mexican artists will be presented in the sale highlighted by a fine selection of paintings by Rufino Tamayo. “Mujeres”, (estimate: $600,000-800,000), a 1960 masterpiece painted in Paris, the work is a culmination of the undeniable expressionist and abstract influences the artist fused with his own celebrated, signature style. A notable highlight is the powerful and dramatic “Pájaros” by Tamayo (estimate: $400,000-600,000) a work from the 1940s painted during the Second World War. The 1940s were a great creative period for Tamayo, who captured the zeitgeist of a war-torn world through the visual metaphors that permeated his work.

Uruguayan artist, Joaquín Torres-García’s “Navío constructivo”, 1934 (estimate: $250,000-350,000) is an evocative work, inspired by his own trans-Atlantic travel from his native land to Europe and can be interpreted as an allegorical reference to the voyage of life. Born to a Spanish father and a Uruguayan mother, Torres-García drew equal inspiration from both Europe and the Americas. In this affirmative and universal image, Torres-García expresses within the simple grid the ultimate passage of life and its most basic organic and cosmic order.

Several works by the Kinetic and Op art movement will be represented by artists including Carlos Cruz-Diez, Jesús Rafael Soto, in addition to two major paintings by Roberto Aizenberg. Carlos Cruz-Diez’s kaleidoscopic “Physichromie No. 2266” (estimate: $150,000-200,000) is a dazzling and vibrant work, which captures the chromatic visual spaces that challenge our perceptions of color and transform our viewing experience. In “Rond et jaune”, 1969 (estimate: $150,000-200,000) Jesús Rafael Soto explores the means of pushing abstraction beyond mere illusionism. Roberto Aizenberg’s “Pintura”, 1963 (estimate: $80,000-120,000) and “Pintura”, 1971-75 (estimate: $70,000-100,000) are exceptional works rooted in his study of architecture and inspired by his fascination with metaphysical cities. The Venezuelan artist, Gego, is represented by refined sculpture “Untitled, No. 17 “(estimate: $150,000-200,000), a remarkable work comprised of splayed steel wires from her series Líneas paralelas.

The sale offers features a solid ensemble of Cuban art. Wifredo Lam’s “Sans titre”, 1946-47 (estimate $600,000-800,000) is a striking, and elegant image of one of Lam’s signature anthropomorphic hybrid creatures. An earlier work by Lam, “Les Jumeaux”, 1944 (estimate: $200,000-300,000) was painted during an important time in the artist’s career, during which he synthesized and adapted Cubism and Surrealism into his very own visual language. Other important works by Cuban artists include Cundo Bermúdez’s “La flautista”, circa 1950, (estimate: $80,000-120,000), a refined and painterly homage to a solitary flutist; Tomás Sánchez’s mystical “Silencio a las tres”, 2001 (estimate: $250,000-350,000), and a contemplative, sublime work by Julio Larraz, “The Moorish Guard”, 1978 (estimate: $60,000-80,000).

Additional highlights include Gunther Gerzso’s “Mitología”, 1961 (estimate: $100,000- 150,000), León Ferrari’s “Historia de Amor” (estimate: $30,000-40,000); Helio Oiticica, “Metaesquema” (estimate: $60,000- 80,000); and a “Study for Cartucho”s from the Huacayñán Series by Oswaldo Guayasamín (estimate: $30,000-40,000).

Latin American Day Sale
The auction will continue on November 18 with the Day Sale, offering works from every major Latin American artist and movement, including smaller-scale works by Botero, Tamayo, and Lam, as well as a selection including, Jorge Jiménez Deredia’s exquisite sculpture, “Renacer” (estimate: $50,000-$70,000), Julio Galán’s “Les Quatre…Du Paradis”, 1998 (estimate: $18,000-$22,000), “Untitled” by Florencio Molina Campos (estimate: $10,000-$15,000) and an Anonymous late 17th-century painting depicting the last Hapsburg king of Spain, Charles II in defense of the Holy Eucharist, Carlos II y Defensa de la Eucaristía (estimate: $25,000-$30,000).

Category: Auction News

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