New York – Latin American Week Roundup: Auction Results and Pinta, November 15th – 20th, 2012

November 21st, 2012

Gallerist Cecilia Jurado of Y Gallery, NY in front of two works by Carlos Motta photo by A.M. Ekstrand for ArtObserved

Latin American week began with the Pinta art fair, which ran from November 15th – 18th, 2012, after which followed auctions at Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Phillips de Pury & Co. Several records were broken for Latin American artists, proving that the market is still robust, especially on the high end.

Roberto Matta, Nada 1943 courtesy Sotheby’s sold for $1.82 million

Raul Lozza, Untitled Obra no 706 1963 at Henrique Faria Fine Arts

At Pinta, alongside galleries from Latin America, Spain and Portugal was a section of curated projects of both historical and emerging work from various countries. This year’s invited artist was Liliana Porter, who had a large installation and several works on view at the fair. The fair also continued its museum acquisition program, whereby over a million dollars worth of art has been placed in institutions such as the Museo Tamayo, the MoMA, the MFA Houston, the MFA Boston, the Harvard Art Museums, El Museo del Barrio, the Centre Pompidou and the Tate Modern.

Artist Ramón Miranda Baltrán and gallerist Waltar Otero in front of one of his works. Part of Art Projects/Pinta, photo by A.M. Ekstrand for ArtObserved

Clarissa Lima in front of two Rodrigo Tizil Lima pieces. Huma Art Projects, Rio de Janeiro/Pinta photo by A.M. Ekstrand for ArtObserved

Rachel Valdes Camejo, Happily Ever After 2012 Cuban Arts Project Havana/Pinta

Sotheby’s then continued the momentum for Latin American collectors with their sale totaling over $23 million. The sale, which included work spanning four centuries, set records for Latin American colonial art and for a work by Jesús Rafael Soto, Dr. Atl and Claudio Bravo, among others.

Portrait of Moctezuma II, late 17th century (Anonymous, Mexican School)  courtesy Sotheby’s

Portrait of Moctezuma II, which was painted in the late 17th century (Anonymous, Mexican School) sold for $1.65 million, a record for Latin American colonial art, while Matta’s 1943 Nada went for $1.82 million. The auction house had an additional selection of work by Roberto Matta and by Cuban Wilfredo Lam, both of whom were part of the international surrealist movement before they had established reputations in their respective homelands, which were Third World, post-colonial countries.

Dr Atl (Gerardo Murillo) Mañana Luminosa 1942, courtesy Sotheby’s

A highlight of the sale was the massive Mañana Luminosa (Luminous Morning), by Dr Atl (Gerardo Murillo). It sold for a record $1.65 million. Venezuelan Jesus Rafael Soto’s early 1960 kinetic sculpture La Scie a Metaux (The Hacksaw), also achieved over $1 million. Additionally, the $638,500 sale of the 1971 Recticularea Cuadrada (Squared Rectangular Area) set an auction record for Venezuelan abstract sculptor Gertrude Goldschmidt, known as Gego.

Carlos Cruz-Diez Physichromie No. 652 1973 courtesy Christie’s

Yesterday completed the week, with Phillips and Christie’s holding successive sales in the afternoon and evening. Christie’s sale was led by two Botero works, a large bronze horse (installed outside the Rockefeller Center location), which sold for $938,500 and a painting of a nun eating an apple, which achieved $602,500, both within estimate. The auction also included several works by Venezuelan master Carlos Cruz-Diez, including a stunning Physichromie of 1973 (No. 652), which sold above its estimate at $182,500. Another highlight was a grisaille painting by Wilfredo Lam, using a wash of oil paint in an untitled work from 1944, which sold within estimate at $482,500.

Fernando Botero Horse 1999 courtesy Christie’s

Wilfredo Lam Untitled 1944 courtesy Christie’s

Carmen Herrera Amarillo Dos (from the series Estructuras) 1971 courtesy Christie’s

Phillips took a different approach – with a tightly curated sale of work only spanning the last 60 years. The historical material focused mostly on geometric abstraction and surrealism alongside contemporary work by important artists such as Vik Muniz, Damián Ortega and Los Carpinteros.

Eduardo Hoffman, Untitled 3424 courtesy Phillips de Pury & Co

A large mixed media painting by Argentine Eduardo Hoffman went well over its $30-$40,000 estimate, achieving $74,500.

Luis Tomasello Atmosphère chromoplastique No 168 1967

Antonio Dias, The Prison 1968 courtesy Phillips de Pury & Co

The work that was supposed to lead the sale, however, went unsold: a large Joaquín Torres-Garcia from 1943, estimated at $350,000-$500,000. Oiticia, Tomasello and Soto all fared well, achieving prices within estimates. One further surprise was a 1968 painting by Brazilian Antonio Dias called The Prison, which sold for $194,500, way beyond its $40-$60,000 presale estimate.

Torres Garcia, Rio Negro 1943 courtesy Phillips

Between the three auction houses, almost $40 million in sales of Latin American Art were realized with somewhat inconsistent and unexpected results, but nonetheless a sign that the Latin American market remains strong and continues to evolve.

-V. Artzimovich

[Phillips de Pury & Co.]
[Pinta art fair]
Chicago Tribune: ["Botero's bronze "Horse" top seller at NY Latam art auction"]
Reuters:[Chile, Mexico artists lead Latin American art sale in New York]
The New Yorker: [Goings on About Town]