FERNANDO BOTERO (B. 1932)
oil on canvas
93 x 49½ in. each
93 x 148½ in. overall
Painted in 1975.
NEW YORK – Christie’s is pleased to present the live sale of Latin American Art on May 19, 2021 in New York. The sale will include a range of works from modern and contemporary masterpieces to finest examples of 17th and 18th-century Spanish colonial painting. Highlights from this season will include exceptional works by Rufino Tamayo, Tilsa Tsuchiya, Francisco Toledo, Fernando Botero, Joaquín Torres-García, Claudio Bravo and Sergio Camargo.
The sale will be headlined by Rufino Tamayo’s Naturaleza muerta (estimate: $1,800,000-2,500,000), an arresting early work by the artist that refreshingly reimagines the traditional still life subject. Naturaleza muerta reveals Tamayo’s love of the European avant-garde from Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque to Giorgio de Chirico and the legacy of Cubism as well as his commitment to visualizing his Mexican identity. Spread across Tamayo’s abundant table is a variety of vessels and fruits, most notable among them are the three pink watermelon slices, a signature motif of the artist that he directly related to his childhood spent in Oaxaca and Mexico City. At the center of the composition, a bottle with a label showing just the word “Mexico,” inserts another dose of Mexicanidad into this seemingly European composition. Just to the right of this bottle stands another, which cleverly reads “Tamayo” on the label.
Another top lot of the sale is Fernando Botero’s The Bather (estimate: $1,800,000-2,500,000). A triptych, appearing at auction for the first time, the work is expected to be among the record prices paid for a painting by the artist. Placid and majestic, the subject of The Bather is a classic Botero woman—an imposing, rotund beauty we see from the front, back, and side. In each panel, she dwarfs her male companions who we see swimming in the pistachio-green pool or resting on a pink towel. As in the best of Botero’s work, The Bather hits perfect chromatic pitch with a soothing symphony of salmon hues, pastel greens and muted grays that reverberate throughout the composition.
The sale also includes works by Botero in different mediums including sculptures and works on paper, such as Dancers (estimate: $700,000-1,000,000) and Still Life with Soup Tureen and Watermelon (estimate: $150,000-250,000).
Among the exceptional contemporary works in the sale is an installation of 17 shaped canvases by Kazuya Sakai, 1960s reliefs by Sergio Camargo and a beguiling painting by the mystical Tilsa Tsuchiya. Rounding out the sale are twenty-two outstanding Spanish colonial works, a testament to Christie’s dominance in the market that has been thriving in recent seasons, with growing demand from American and European collectors as well as institutions.
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