“The extraordinary results achieved tonight across all categories – paintings, sculpture, and works on paper – indicate a comeback for the market,” said Virgilio Garza, Head of the Latin American Art department. “We witnessed spirited bidding by a global clientele for works by artists such as Fernando Botero, Claudio Bravo and Rufino Tamayo, among many others.”
Christie’s press release also gives a very good summary of the action:
A superb group of major paintings from the 1940s and 50s by the Surrealist master, Matta, all presented for the first time at auction, were 100% sold. Leading this impressive selection of works was a 1948 painting entitled Crucisphere, which totaled $398,500. This work was one of the highlights exhibited at the artist’s MoMA retrospective in 1957. An exceptional result was achieved for Qui insuffle le printemps, 1952-1958, which sold for $494,500. Other works included Eupure, 1944, which realized $386,500; and Horror is not Truth, 1948, which realized $146,500. Another Chilean master, Claudio Bravo, achieved the second highest price of the sale with $722,500 for White, Blue and Yellow Papers, a luminous, transcendental and other-worldly work from his famous series depicting creased, colored paper.
The demand for Mexican modernist artists was strong, led by a fine group of paintings by Rufino Tamayo. A 1960 masterpiece by Tamayo, Mujeres, was purchased for $698,500. Another notable highlight of the evening was his powerful and dramatic Pájaros, a work from the 1940s painted during the Second World War, which realized $566,500. […]
A solid ensemble of Cuban art also achieved strong prices. Wifredo Lam’s Sans titre, (1946-47) realized $662,500. A striking and elegant image, the painting depicts one of Lam’s signature anthropomorphic hybrid creatures. Les Jumeaux, 1944, an earlier work on paper, realized $236,500. Other important works by Cuban artists included Victor Manuel’s Carnaval, a street festival scene, which set a new world auction record for the artist at $182,500; Cundo Bermúdez’s La flautista, circa 1950, a refined and painterly homage to a solitary flutist which sold for $146,500; Tomás Sánchez’s mystical Silencio a las tres, 2001 fetched $290,500; and a contemplative, sublime work by Julio Larraz,
The Moorish Guard, 1978, sold for $104,500.
Works by the Kinetic and Op art movement performed exceptionally well. The section included paintings by Carlos Cruz-Diez, Physichromie No. 2266, which achieved $182,500, and Rond et jaune, by Jesús Rafael Soto 1969, which fetched $242,500. Another work by Soto, Escritura blanca al centro soared above its estimate and realized $362,500. Roberto Aizenberg’s Pintura, 1963, achieved $86,000 and another Pintura, from 1971-75, sold for $74,500. Both are exceptional works rooted in Aizenberg’s study of architecture and inspired by his fascination with metaphysical cities.