Christie’s is honored to be offering works from the impressive collection amassed by Percy and Marjorie Selden, a noted Houston-based couple who began collecting shortly after they married in 1937 and amassed an extensive collection of works from their travels around the globe. Collecting objects from far-away places was part of Percy Selden’s family culture. Percy’s father was the head of Macy’s Department Store, which his family founded. On his mother’s side, were the founders of Abraham & Straus, another major New York retailer.
Two keys highlights from this collection include works by one of the most influential Mexican artist of his time, Diego Rivera, a towering figure in the development of modern art in his native country. Acquired directly from the artist shortly after the Selden’s married, Retrato de Carmelita Aviles (1937) and Nieves desnuda de rodillas sobre un petate (1940) signal Rivera’s recurring interest in depicting children as well as the female form in all its plenitude. Both are emblematic of his passion for life and his desire to elevate the seemingly mundane into images of monumental beauty and lasting symbols of Mexican culture and national identity.