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Juan Soriano (Mexican 1920-2006)
Juan Soriano (Mexican 1920-2006)

La novia vendida

Juan Soriano (Mexican 1920-2006)
La novia vendida
signed and dated 'J. Soriano 43' (lower right)
tempera on paper
25½ x 19¾ in. (64.8 x 50 cm.)
Painted in 1943.
Acquired from the artist.
Juan Soriano: el poeta pintor, Conaculta, Pinacoteca, Mexico City, 2000, p. 99 (illustrated in color).
Juan Soriano, La Creación como Libertad, Homenaje Nacional en su 80 Aniversario, INBA, Mexico City, 2000, p. 74 (illustrated in color).
Mexique Europe: Allers-Retours 1910-1960, Éditions Cercle d'Art, Paris, 2004, p. 177, no. 181 (illustrated in color).
Mexico City, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Internacional Rufino Tamayo, Juan Soriano, La Creación como Libertad, Homenaje Nacional en su 80 Aniversario, June - September 2000. This exhibition later traveled to Monterrey, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Monterrey, November 2000 - January 2001.
Lille, Musée d'art moderne de Lille Métropole, Mexique Europe: Allers-Retours 1910-1960, September 2004 - January 2005, no. 181.
Sale Room Notice
Please note this work has been requested for inclusion in the exhibition Juan Soriano and Modern Mexican Art: 1930s and 40s, curated by Edward J. Sullivan, at The Philadelphia Museum of Art, Feb. 2008.

Lot Essay

Sir Peter Smithers (1913-2006) was a visionary thinker and a Renaissance man. Sir Peter, a Member of Parliament, lawyer, politician, scholar, noted photographer, horticulturist, writer and art collector, died last summer in his garden at Vico Morcote in Switzerland for which he had lovingly cared and bred several varieties of flowers, including lilies. His garden was named one of the 500 greatest gardens since Roman times. His love of horticulture began at the early age of 13 when he persuaded the Royal Horticultural Society to let him attend the Chelsea Flower Show becoming the first child to do so.

Due to his WWII association with Ian Fleming, many have speculated that Sir Peter might have inspired the writer's most famous character--James Bond. The two were colleagues and part of the British intelligence services at the time. Sir Peter's diplomatic career included his stint as Acting Naval Attaché in Mexico City, Central America and Panama from 1942 to 1946 where alongside his naval intelligence duties, he managed to raise orchids. An interest in Mexican Art blossomed due to this posting. Sir Peter and his wife, Lady Smithers (neé Sayman), became friends with many of the artists they met in Mexico, among them Juan Soriano who painted their portrait. Their small but exquisite collection of Mexican art included works by Rufino Tamayo and Juan Soriano.

Two early gems by Tamayo, never before exhibited, were sold at Christie's Latin American Sale, May 2006. Offered now, are two iconic works from Juan Soriano's Surrealist period--La novia vendida, and Recreo de arcangeles, both dated 1943. By the 1940s, Soriano had made his mark in the Mexican artistic milieu as a gifted draftsman and painter of a poetic vein through a series of works that often blend Christian and Greek mythological iconography. La novia vendida and Recreo de arcangeles are among the finest examples of the period. In these narrative works the everyday is transfigured; the mundane is elevated to a fantastic realm that is timeless and transcendental.

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