Published: December 28, 2010
Works by Diego Rivera, Fernando Botero, Rufino Tamayo and Beatriz Milhazes realized top prices at Christie’s two-session sale of Latin American art on November 17 and 18. The auctions, conducted before a crowded sale room, achieved 14 new world auction records and a grand total of $23,323,275. The firm said its Latin American paintings auctions conducted in 2010 achieved 54 percent market share with a combined total sales of $43,837,875.
Virgilio Garza, head of Latin American paintings at Christie’s, commented, “Fall 2010 has brought a renewed energy into the saleroom, with extraordinary prices for key artists. Buyers bid aggressively on prized works by Fernando Botero, Matta, Rufino Tamayo and Julio Le Parc, among others who realized exceptional prices. Brazilian works performed outstandingly well, with 100 percent sell-through, notably works by Beatriz Milhazes and Hélio Oiticica.
“Six new artist records were established,” continued Garza, “including those for Jorge Jiménez Deredia, Julio Galán, Adriana Varejão, Hélio Oiticica and Omar Rayo. Christie’s is also proud to offer a historic masterpiece by Colombian artist Alipio Jaramillo for the first time at auction, which surpassed its estimate by five times at $110,500.”
The total sale of 325 works comprised works from the Eighteenth to the Twenty-First Century and represented artists from 14 countries across Latin America, including Chile, Cuba, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Nicaragua. Buyers were 49 percent North American, 6 percent European and 45 percent other, including Central and South America.
The sales’ top lot was Fernando Botero’s (Colombian, b 1932) “Family Scene,” 1985, which surpassed its high estimate of $1.5 million, ultimately realizing $1,706,500. The remarkable “Family Scene” is inspired by Botero’s fascination with the artistry and sport of tauromaquia or the bullfight. Here, however, rather than just exalting the bullfight, Botero celebrates the family †the most universal of human institutions. The family sits proudly for a group portrait †its youngest member and most diminutive torero, still crawling. It was a season of successful Boteros, with artist’s monumental “Seated Woman,” 2002, a bronze sculpture with a dark brown patina selling at an astounding $842,500.
Overall, Brazilian paintings dominated the sales with highlights, such as Beatriz Milhazes (b 1960) “Machina,” 1993‱994, which achieved $722,500. “Machina” juxtaposes Brazilian cultural references and imagery in this vibrant work. The artist’s feminized aesthetic †her exuberant use of patterning and layering of delicate motifs †allude to the arts and crafts related traditionally to women’s lives but to a larger extent, they update the language of abstraction.
A long overdue world auction record was achieved for Adriana Varejão (b 1964) for “Paisagem canibal,” which realized $602,500. The work is a striking visual metaphor, exploring the colonial history that continues to exist in the present. The artist viscerally portrayed the physical wounding of a landscape †a wound that can be seen as a metaphor for the complex forces of history.
Another notable highlight was Chilean Matta’s electric work “S’Enroséer,” oil on canvas, painted in 1956, which realized $866,500.
Prices reported include the buyer’s premium.
For information, 212-636-2000 or www.Christies.com .
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