Sotheby’s Spring Latin American Art Sales Bring $26,853,025

  • NEW YORK, New York
  • /
  • May 27, 2011

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Fernando Botero, A Family. Oil on canvas, 74 x 74 in. Sold for $1,398,500.
Photo: Sotheby's

“We are delighted with our total of $26.9 million – the second highest ever for Latin American Art at Sotheby’s.” said Carmen Melián, Head of Latin American Art at Sotheby’s. “Throughout the evening sale we saw results that were consistent with the estimates we set with strong prices achieved for Rufino Tamayo, Fernando Botero, Wifredo Lam, Joaquín Torres-García and many others. Whilst we were disappointed that the Frida Kahlo Self Portrait did not find a buyer last night, I am pleased to have sold it privately today. There was great excitement throughout the day sale where it was wonderful to see a series of strong prices for the women who did so much to advance abstraction in Latin American painting. These were led by Carmen Herrera whose 1965 painting West was one of 19 records that were set in the sale.”

The evening sale was led by a number of strong prices for Rufino Tamayo, led by the $1,370,500 achieved by Madre Divirtiendo a Su Hijo from 1946 (est. $1/1.5 million).* In addition, Mujer En Extasis from 1973 fetched $962,500 (est. $900,000/1.2 million), and Sandias from 1941 made $602,500 (est. $500/700,000). Other highlights included Diego Rivera’s The Old Hamlet of Toledo, which fetched $992,500 (est. $800,000/1million), and The Morphology of Desire by Matta, which sold for $902,500 ($700/900,000).

The highlight of a sale dedicated to Colombian artist Fernando Botero was A Family from 1972, one of a series of family scenes painted throughout Botero’s career, which sold for $1,398,500 (est. $1/1.5 million).

The monumental sculpture Man on a Horse set a record for a bronze by the artist at auction when it sold for $1,172,500 after a contest involving three bidders, whilst the 1983 drawing Society Lady fetched $230,500 in the day sale, many multiples of the high estimate (est. $35/45,000).

Following a series of strong prices in recent auctions, the Cuban artist Wifredo Lam led the various-owner sale with Les Oiseaux Voilés from 1945, which sold for $1,022,500 (est. $800,000/1.2 million). El Árbol De La Vida by Leonora Carrington sold to a telephone bidder for $578,500 (est. $500/700,000). Joaquín Torres-García’s 1920 painting Fourteenth Street was featured on the cover of the sale catalogue and sold for $362,500, comfortably in excess of its pre-sale high estimate (est. $150/200,000).

The auction also saw a number of strong prices for abstraction, with Estudio para Coloritmo Nº3 by Alejandro Otero selling for $554,500 (est. $350/450,000) and Jesús Rafael Soto’s Gran Azul from 1999 fetching $362,500 (est. $250/300,000). A 1965 Relief by Sergio Camargo exceeded its high estimate in selling for $842,500 after a competition between three bidders (est. $400/600,000), and In-Mensa by Cildo Meireles from 1982 sold for multiples of the high estimate to sell for $518,500 – a new record for the artist (est. $80/120,000).

Among the highlights of the various-owner morning session was a series of strong prices for the women artists who pioneered Latin American abstraction. New records were set for the Cuban artist Carmen Herrera, when West from 1965 sold for $134,500 (est. $40/60,000), and Sarah Girlo, whose 1966 painting Nobody Ever… fetched $34,375 (est. $18/20,000). Other highlights included an Untitled Pedro Coronel painting which sold for $122,500 ($100/150,000), Antonio Seguí’s Bulldog In San Vincente which made $92,500, three times the high estimate (est. $25/35,000) and the abstract sculpture Persistence In Time by Agustín Cárdenas which brought $104,500 (est. $60/80,000).

*Estimates do not include buyers premium


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