Works by Latin American masters such as Wifredo Lam, Joaquín Torres-García, Sergio Camargo, Jesus Rafael Soto, Fernando Botero, Antonio Berni, Armando Morales and Beatriz Milhazes, dominated the auction and achieved, in some cases, personal price records for the artists.
The results from the auction have been considered very positive: of the 245 lots offered, 186 were sold for a total of $18,240,375. “The success of these lots was demonstrative of the significant interest that exists internationally for works by Latin American artists who are fresh to the auction market,” said Virgilio Garza, Christie’s director of Latin American art.
RUFINO TAMAYO. Women Reaching for the Moon, 1946.
Mujeres alcanzando la luna (Women Reaching the Moon) by Rufino Tamayo was the crown jewel: its price was estimated, initially, between $1,200,000 and $1,800,000, and was sold for $1,445,000. This work, from the Cleveland Museum of Art collection, had already been exhibited in major international institutions such as the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Phillips Collection in Washington DC, and the National Art Museum of Mexico City, among others.
La rosa (The Rose) by Roberto Matta, another of the works put up for sale by the Cleveland Museum of Art in order to acquire new pieces for its collection, was auctioned with an estimated price between $250,000 and $350,000. It was finally sold for $461,000.
Brazilian art, as has been the trend for the last few years, also had a prominent place during the fall auction. O Casamento, a 1995 work by Beatriz Milhazes, was purchased for $1,025,000, and the kinetic-color work Visual Sequence S-51 by Abraham Palatnik was sold for $785 000, a world auction record for the artist. Mulata e pasaros by Emiliano Di Cavalcanti, a pioneer of Brazilian modernism, and Alfredo Volpi’s Facade (No. 1342), also brought in large sums of cash.
Estela and Joaquin Shapiro, collectors and art patrons, amassed a large collection of works by key mid-twentieth century Mexican artists such as Rodolfo Nieto, Ricardo Martínez and Juan Soriano. Other works by the Mexican master, Rufino Tamayo, such as Child Playing (1945), Two Women (1958) and Two Women in Red (1978) also caught the attention of this year’s buyers. The latter was sold for $665,000. Meanwhile, the 20th century Cuban avant-garde movement was represented by Still Life (1946) by Mariano Rodriguez and La Rose Zombie (1950) by Wifredo Lam, which was bought for $845,000.
This event, held at Chrisite’s New York headquarters at 20 Rockefeller Plaza, demonstrates, once again, the interest that modern and contemporary Latin American artists arouse in today’s international art market. ■