• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 2005

    Latin American Sale Evening Session

    28 - 29 May 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 45

    Juan Soriano (Mexican 1920-2006)

    Bicicletas en rojo

    Price Realised  


    Juan Soriano (Mexican 1920-2006)
    Bicicletas en rojo
    signed and dated 'J. Soriano I/IX/55' (upper right)
    oil and tempera on canvas
    36 x 46 in. (91 x 117 cm.)
    Painted in 1955.

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    To persist in objects and spaces; to be forever and for others; the works of Juan Soriano are windows open onto the interior world of a person. Boundary stones between the conscious and the unconscious of the intimate record of an age. Following the effervescence of the Mexican School of Painting, the themes of nationalism and the Mexican Revolution began to give way to a new artistic movement, La ruptura (the "Rupture,") which was free of social content and explored, as art critic Teresa del Conde has put it, the individual world of the artist.

    With this same creative force Juan Soriano sought to capture the essence of those objects that had surrounded him during his Guadalajara childhood. As he explained:
    I remember that as child I was delighted to see how with a pencil and two or three colors someone could suggest an entire world of forms, and if I took up the pencil and the colors, I could repeat those movements I was especially amazed by a young fellow who could draw bicycles to perfection.

    In this painting the artist used the same palette as in a canvas executed a year before: The Tour de France, now in the Museo de Arte Moderno in Mexico City. Critical of the international competitions which monopolized the attention of the public, in Bicicletas en rojo Soriano has eliminated the flags and chosen to perpetuate the everyday aspect of the object.

    Bicycles also evoked for the master his time in Italy with his companion Diego de Mesa. Exploration in abstraction, which never wholly abandons figuration. Imaginary streets in which a Mexican reality is inserted into Western culture. Bicicletas en rojo belonged to a series that has since been dispersed.

    This canvas of intricate visual labyrinths formed part of the collection of Frank and Jayne Fernández; Frank lived during the 1960s in Mexico, and was the representative of the Kodak Company and made the acquaintance of many artists of the "Rupture" movement. His fine eye and many friendships helped him to assemble an important collection of Mexican art in his home in the United States.

    Just as the Futurist Marinetti sang the beauty of a race car, in preference to the Winged Victory of Samothrace, so the Mexican artist has recovered the color circle through spokes, tires, and whimsical handlebars that evoke the folklore of a country which, in his imagination, rides on towards modernity.

    Alfonso Miranda Márquez, Director, Museo Soumaya, Mexico City.


    Galería Antonio Souza, Mexico City.
    Acquired from the above by Frank and Jayne Fernández.
    By descent to the present owners.

    Pre-Lot Text