New York – Christie’s announces highlights of its upcoming Evening and Day sales of Latin American Art at Rockefeller Center on November 24-25. The Evening Sale on November 24, will be led by Alfredo Ramos Martínez’s visual tour de force Mujeres con flores, circa 1938 (illustrated below, left; estimate: $2,000,000 – 3,000,000) and Fernando Botero’s monumental Adam and Eve, (illustrated page two; estimate $1,800,000 – $2,500,000). Also included in the evening sale is Lygia Clark’s Bicho pq. (Versão 1) (illustrated above; estimate: $700,000 – 900,000), an exceptionally rare and early example from the artist’s breakthrough series of Bichos (Animals or Creatures), hinged abstract sculptures that are meant to be manipulated by the viewer. Christie’s sale of Latin American Art will continue on November 25 with superb examples of paintings, sculpture, and drawings by artists such as Wifredo Lam, Rufino Tamayo, Enoc Perez, Carlos Enríquez, Doris Salcedo and Beatriz Milhazes.
Alfredo Ramos Martínez’s Mujeres con flores is an important example from the artist’s most celebrated period, his California years (1930-1946). During these years, Ramos Martínez developed his mature style characterized by his imagery of noble, eternally youthful Indian women presenting offerings of local fruit, flowers and artesanía. Ramos Martínez’s home garden in California with its many varieties of blooming flowers provided endless inspiration for the artist.
Rufino Tamayo’s Sandías depicts the artist’s most iconic and much loved subject:minimally rendered red watermelons.
• Sandías (illustrated right; estimate: $600,000 – 800,000), painted in 1955, simplifies form and skews perspective, suggesting the still-lifes of Paul Cézanne, translated into a 20th century modernist language.
• With its full spectrum of luminescent reds, Sandías eloquently illustrates Tamayo’s unsurpassed ability to extract a rich panoply of hues from a single color.
• Watermelons also held a personal resonance for the artist who often recalled days from his youth spent selling the fruit alongside his aunt in Mexico City, with whom he lived after his parents passed away.
A cornerstone of Christie’s Latin American sale are the superb examples of sculpture, paintings, and drawings from Colombian master, Fernando Botero. The fall auction will offer 18 works from the artist, led by the monumental sculputure, Adam and Eve (illustrated far left; estimate: $1,800,000 – 2,500,000).
- Executed in 1990, the artist regards the creation of sculpture as, “an object from your spirit, it’s a sensual experience even in execution. It brings a special joy to touch the materical with your hands.”
Homenaje a Bonnard (illustrated above, right; estimate: $800,000 – 1,200,000), painted in 1971, pays tribute to the French Nabis painter Pierre Bonard, best known for his depictions of female bathers. Yet, in striking contrast to Bonnard’s ethereal bathers, Botero’s solid monumental woman fills almost the entirety of the decidedly twentieth-century private interior, a testament to the artist’s ’s ability to transform the past into a distinctly modern vision.
IMPORTANT PRIVATE COLLECTIONS
Among the highlights of the sale are works from two exceptional private collections with significant holdings of Cuban vanguardía paintings. Fresh to the market, the works from both collections are exceptional for their rarity and august provenance.
- Of particular note, from the Collection of Silvio E. and Jean W. Hernández, is the iconic work by Carlos Enríquez, El Hurón Azul (illustrated left; estimate: $200,000 – 300,000), painted in 1953.
- Considered one of Enríquez’s most significant paintings, El Húron Azul depicts the artist’s home in the outskirts of Havana, where he would hold festive salons or tertulias for the island’s artists, philosophers and intelligentsia.
- El Hurón Azul has remained in the Collection of Silvio E. and Jean W. Hernández since it was acquired by the Hernández family from the artist’s daughter in the early 1960s.
- Additionally, the Washington, D.C. based Collection of Barbara Walker Gordon boasts significant offerings from artists such as Fernando Botero, Wifredo Lam, Alejandro Obregón, Matta, Amelia Peláez, and Joaquín Torres-García.
Wifredo Lam’s 1944 painting Le nid fasciné combines many of the artist’s iconic motifs: birds, human hands, breast-like forms and the head of an Eleguá, the double horned Santería deity. These indefinable figures – not quite animal, human, or spirit – suggest the Surrealist practice of juxtaposing incongruous subjects to create works of distinct originality. Le nid fasciné carries a pre-sale estimate of $250,000 – 350,000.
• Painted in 1944 while Lam was living in Cuba, the work is a beautiful example from the most celebrated period in the artist’s oeuvre.
• The work’s Surrealist title was actually suggested by Pierre Matisse.
• When Le nid fasciné made its public debut at Pierre Matisse’s gallery in New York in 1944, it was shown alongside what would become the artist’s magnum opus—The Jungle.
Lygia Clark’s Bicho pq. (Versão 1), from the artist’s breakthrough 1960-63 series of Bichos (Animals or Creatures), are significant not only for their rejection of the traditional canvas but for their pioneering engagement with the viewer whose interaction with these objects is integral to their experience.
• Bicho pq. (Versão 1) is one of the first Bichos ever made and eloquently reflects the spirit of experimentation and possibility that embodies this series.
• Christie’s offering of Bicho pq. (Versão 1) comes on the heels of the recent critically acclaimed Lygia Clark retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City which illuminated the artist’s pioneering role in the Brazilian Neo-Concretist movement alongside her contemporaries Hélio Oiticica and Lygia Pape.
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