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Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information

Sotheby’s New York Announces Latin American Auction for November 16-17

Sotheby’s fall sale of Latin American Art in New York on 16 and 17 November 2011 will showcase a range of Latin American painting and sculpture from the continents’ most important artists including exceptional works from important collections that are fresh to the market. A group of Rufino Tamayo paintings that span the course of the artist’s career are among the highlights of the sale alongside exceptional works by Alfredo Ramos Martínez, Emiliano Di Cavalcanti, Wilfredo Lam, Matta, and a retrospective selection of works by Venezuelan Kinetic artist Jesús Rafael Soto.

La India Del Lago by Alfredo Ramos Martínez is a major highlight of the sale and one of the most important paintings by the artist to have appeared at auction for many years (est. $900,000/1.2 million). During a decade-long stay in Paris at the beginning of the 20th century, Ramos Martinez established friendships with some of the most important artists of the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist movements. La India Del Lago from 1938 comes from the artist’s California period and exemplifies his depictions of Mexican imagery. Also by Ramos Martínez are Vendedoras de Flores de Xochimilco (est. $200/300,000) and La Joven De Cuernacava (est. $200/300,000).

Rufino Tamayo is considered one of the most acclaimed artists of his generation one of the great colorists of the twentieth century. The sale includes eight works dating from 1928 to 1966 in a retrospective of his career that encompasses many of his signature themes and images. The group is led by Watermelon Slices which is being sold by The Museum of Modern Art, New York to Benefit the Acquisitions Fund (est. $1.5/2 million). Watermelon Slices fuses both the international modernist aesthetics of Cubism with a local subject matter and symbolism. The simple two-dimensionality, sparseness and geometric forms are an essential part of Tamayo’s art from this period.

The earliest painting in the group – Frutero Y Dominó from 1928 – also features Tamayo’s watermelon slices (est. $275/375,000). The work was included in the artists retrospective at the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes which was installed in the galleries of the Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico’s premier cultural space that was lauded by both Mexican art critics and the public. Also included in that exhibition was Naturaleza Muerta Con Cabeza (Retrato de Mujer) which was painted four years later in 1932 (est. $300/400,000).

The mid-1950s was a crucial period for the development of Tamayo’s art with the loosening of his ties to figuration after a visit to Europe in the late 1940s. From this period comes El Tragfuego, a study in motion from 1955, (est.$400/600,000) and Venus En Su Alcoba from 1956 (est. $550/750,000). While Tres Figuras from 1966 has also been widely exhibited including at the 1968 Venice Biennale and in the 1979 exhibition Rufino Tamayo: Myth and Magic at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York (est. $750/950,000).

Emiliano Di Cavalcanti was one of the exponents of Brazilian modernism who reinterpreted European techniques such as Cubism and German Expressionism, which he experienced through his friendships with Picasso, Matisse, Braque and Léger. Natureza Morta from circa 1945 is a perfect example of the artist’s unparalleled technique (est. $450/650,000), while Mulata Sentada Na Frente Mesa Com Pandeiro was painted in 1954, a year after the artist was awarded the best painter prize at the second São Paulo Biennial (est. $350,450,000). The work depicts a mulata sitting solemnly with the tambourine in view behind her alluding to the Brazilian samba.

The Surrealist works by Matta in the sale are led by Esa guerra desnuda – a 1937 masterwork on paper that was the artist’s angst-ridden denunciation of the horrors of the Spanish Civil War (est. $300/500,000). Further Matta highlights include two works from circa 1953 Re-Evolvers (Le Couple) (est. $250/350,000) and Lispard du Mêdi (est. $350/450,000). The major Wifredo Lam painting in the sale is Bonjour Monsieur Lam (Au Commencement De La Nuit) from 1959 (est. $600/800,000). The 1959 work is related to the La Rencontre (The Encounter) by the 19th century French painter Gustave Courbet. Both paintings are self-portraits, but whereas Courbet is meeting his friend and collector Alfred Bruyas, Lam encounters a mythical bearded beast (est. $600/800,000).

In addition to Matta, Chilean artists are represented in the sale by Claudio Bravo. Seraphim (White, Yellow, and Green) from 1999 is the most important work by the artist to have appeared at auction since his death this June (est. $700/900,000), while Untitled is a much earlier work-on-paper from 1972 (est. $80/100,000).

The non-figurative art in the sale is led by nine works by Venezuelan Abstract Art master Jesús Rafael Soto. These pieces represent the works he created in his most mature style: Vibrations, Writings, the T series, the “Ambivalencias” and the more concrete pieces of the 1990s.

Two of the most significant pieces are a 1965 splendid and generously sized black and white Vibración (est. $150/200,000) and Escritura Cobalto, an elegant and lyrical composition in one of Soto´s preferred colors: cobalt (or Yves Klein) blue (est. $250/350,000). Other Soto highlights include the colorful Mariche 2 from 1997 (est. $250/350,000) and an earlier 1978 work, Tes De Monza (est. $140/180,000). Further Kinetic highlights include Sin Título by Gego (est. $125/175,000) and the 1931 Physicichromie 88 by Carlos Cruz-Diez (est. $200/300,000).

The 19th century paintings in the sale are led by Cortadores De Caña by an anonymous painter from circa 1880 (est. 150/200,000). Sugar fueled the Caribbean economy of the time, yet there are few pictorial representations of these agricultural activities making this a rare as well as superbly composed painting.

Image: Rufino Tamayo, Watermelon Slices, 1950. Estimate: $1.5/2 million. Photo: Sotheby’s.

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