With only 5 lots carrying mid-estimates of $1 million or more, the Latin American sales this week aren’t going to be hotbed of record-breaking activity. There is, however, potential for at least one major upset: This week’s most highly estimated Latin American art work is Wifredo Lam’s Sur les Traces (est. $1,200,000-$1,800,000), which is offered at Sotheby’s on Thursday.
Since it was exhibited for the first time at the Pierre Matisse Gallery in 1945, the black and white composition has made its rounds among other members of the trade and comes to us now from a private collection in Aspen. If Sur Les Traces sells within its estimate, it will likely establish a new record for Lam. The Cuban artist’s existing auction high of $1,322,500, is now over a decade old—in part because large-scale Lam paintings like Sur les Traces rarely appear at auction.
So Sur les Traces has rarity going for it, but does it have any other attributes that suggest it will best Lam’s existing record? To find out what Sur les Traces has in common with other top-dollar Lams and for more on Lam’s market in general, see