[intro]Mexican Artists Hold the Record Prices in Latin American Art[/intro]
In 2008, Rufino Tamayo’s Trovador established the auction record for the most expensive Latin American painting ever sold when it brought $7.2 million at Christie’s. Before that, Frida Kahlo’s $5.6 million Roots held the title which it, in turn, had inherited from another Kahlo that sold for $5.1 million in 2000. As these top prices suggest, Latin American art auctions have typically had Mexican artists to thank for their brightest moments. In fact, Mexican art is the foundation on which the Latin American auction category was built (the first sale of Latin American art that Mary-Anne Martin organized at Sotheby’s in 1977 was for Mexican paintings).
Today, however, the sector is more diverse than ever, featuring work by artists from more than 25 nations. Although work by Mexican artists still accounts for the majority of the value sold in the Latin American sales at Christie’s and Sotheby’s (36% to be exact), art from other nations (especially Chile and Venezuela) are making large leaps in value, and the most highly estimated lot hitting the block in this week’s sales is by the Cuban artist Wifredo Lam.
For more on the value of Latin American artists and details on their markets,