New York — 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 & 18 in New York. The auctions, conducted before a crowded sale room, achieved 14 world auction records and a grand total of $23,323,275 (£15,160,129/€17,259,224). In 2010 Christie’s Latin American Paintings auctions achieved 54% market share with a combined total sales of $43,837,875.
Virgilio Garza, Head of Latin American Paintings at Christie’s comments: “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 % sell-through, notably works by Beatriz Milhazes and Hélio Oiticica. Six new artist records were established 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 was comprised of works from the 18th to the 21st century and represented artists from 14 countries across Latin America, including Chile, Cuba, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Nicaragua. Buyers were 49% American, 6% European and 45% other including Central and South America.
The sales’ top lot was Fernando Botero (Colombian, b. 1932) Family Scene, 1985, which surpassed its high estimate of $1,500,000, ultimately realizing $1,706,500 (£1,075,095/ €1,262,810). 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 £530,775/ €623,450).
Overall, Brazilian paintings dominated the sales with highlights such as Beatriz Milhazes (Brazilian B. 1960) Machina , 1993 -1994, which achieved $722,500 (£455,175/ € 534,650). 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 (Brazilian B. 1964) for Paisagem canibal, which realized $602,500 (£379,575/ €445,850). 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 Matta’s electric work S'Enroséer, oil on canvas, painted in 1956, which realized $866,500 (£530,775/ €623,450).
World Auction records were achieved for:
Christie’s, the world's leading art business had global auction and private sales in 2009 that totaled £2.1 billion/$3.3 billion. For the first half of 2010, art sales totaled £1.7 billion/$2.57 billion. Christie’s is a name and place that speaks of extraordinary art, unparalleled service and expertise, as well as international glamour. Founded in 1766 by James Christie, Christie's conducted the greatest auctions of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, and today remains a popular showcase for the unique and the beautiful. Christie’s offers over 450 sales annually in over 80 categories, including all areas of fine and decorative arts, jewellery, photographs, collectibles, wine, and more. Prices range from $200 to over $100 million. Christie’s has 53 offices in 32 countries and 10 salerooms around the world including in London, New York, Paris, Geneva, Milan, Amsterdam, Dubai and Hong Kong. More recently, Christie’s has led the market with expanded initiatives in emerging and new markets such as Russia, China, India and the United Arab Emirates, with successful sales and exhibitions in Beijing, Mumbai and Dubai.
*Estimates do not include buyer's premium
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Related Departments Latin American Art