New York – On May 27, Christie’s Evening Sale of Latin American Art will offer an outstanding Surrealist work by Remedios Varo, Vampiros vegetarianos (Vegetarian vampires). Never before offered at auction, Vampiros vegetarianos was executed at the height of the artist’s career in 1962, and featured prominently in her final exhibition at the groundbreaking Galería Juan Martín in Mexico City. A trailblazer and outlier within the context of modern art, the Spanish born, Mexican artist is best known for her dream-like paintings brimming with myriad sources, ranging from the supernatural to spirituality and science.
Virgilio Garza, Head of Latin American Art, commented: “Vampiros vegetarianos is a wonderful work and serves as an incredible anchor to our sale which features an important selection of works by several leading women surrealists artists, including Leonora Carrington, Alice Rahon and Bridget Tichenor.”
The scene depicted reveals a windowless medieval chamber illuminated by starlight from an oculus replete with a delicate silvery railing. Three emaciated characters sit around a bistro-style table eagerly sipping liquid from long thin straws. Their robes, made in the Surrealist decalomania technique so favored by Varo, take on a fiery glow with their tattered threads springing up like newly water plants.
Another visually arresting aspect of these vampires is their headgear, a play on Mercury’s winged helmet – but here those of bats have replaced the birds’ wings. Birds, bats, wings, flying creatures of all sorts are a staple in Varo’s work, often hinting at flights of fancy and mystical ascendancy. These whimsical creatures are pictorial relatives of the many hybrid creatures featured in the paintings of the Surrealist Leonora Carrington, Varo’s closest friend in Mexico.
The focus of the work and locus of the title’s pun is the meal on the table, a scattering of red fruits so meticulously rendered and brilliantly hued that they glow like embers. Of particular note, the tomatoes on the table are the main ingredients in a popular cocktail mixed in Mexico known as sangrita. Drinks made with tequila and sangrita are known as Vampiros. A favorite cocktail of Carrington, one can imagine her and Varo as they merrily planned one of their many naughty hijinks.
Note to Editors:
Christie’s New York
May 23-27, 2015
Christie’s New York
May 27, 2015 Lots 1-82 7:00pm
May 28, 2015 Lots 82-264 2:00pm
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