Published: December 18, 2012
Sotheby’s November 19 evening session of Latin American art brought a total of $19,275,250, with 89 percent of lots sold. The sale was led by Matta’s “Nada,” which sold for $1,818,500. Six new artist records were achieved for Claudio Bravo, Dr Atl, Jesús Rafael Soto, Gego, Guiseppe Leone Righini and Pietro Gualdi, in addition to the highest price for a piece of Latin American colonial art at auction.
Results from the firm’s day sale on November 20 boosted the category’s total to $23,130,251.
In addition to “Nada,” two additional works by Matta also brought strong prices †”Les Vitamerdres de L’Space sold for $302,500, and “Fidele à la terre (Composition 800F)” achieved $218,500. Other Surrealist highlights of the evening included Wifredo Lam’s “Charbon de Mer,” a rare and dynamic, blue and white composition from 1945, which sold for $542,500 and “Remedios Varo’s Retrato de los niños Andrea y Lorenzo Villaseñor” from 1956, which had never appeared at auction and sold for $518,500.
Continuing a trend witnessed over the course of the past few seasons, Latin American Abstraction inspired considerable competition. All four works by Jesús Rafael Soto sold for a total of $2,038,000, exceeding expectations. Chief among the works on offer was “La Scie a Metaux,” which set a new record for the artist at auction with a price of $1,082,500. Gego’s 1971 construction “Reticulárea Cuadrada” sold for $638,500 to set a new record for the artist at auction. It has been in a private collection in Caracas since it was acquired directly from Gego after completion.
Works from Mexico were also in demand with a new record set for Dr Atl when his “Mañana luminosa” from 1942 sold for $1,650,500, more than five times the previous record for the artist at auction. The Seventeenth Century “Portrait of Moctezuma II,” one of the most important pieces of Mexican colonial art to appear at auction also brought $1,650,000 after competition from two determined bidders to set a record for a piece of Latin American colonial art at auction.
Claudio Bravo’s “Angelis” was also among the top ten works sold, achieving a price of $1,510,500, a new record for the artist at auction, while “Gatos con pesadillas” by Francisco Toledo, the most important living Mexican artist, sold for $602,500.
Prices reported include the buyer’s premium. For information, 212-606-7000 or www.sothebys.com .
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