The Latin American sale at Christie’s is dominated at by estates and collections this season. The entire 250-lot sale has an aggregate estimate of $18m with the top lot coming from Rufino Tamayo, Hombre feliz (1947) estimated at between $2m and $3m. The cover lot for the sale is Franscisco Toledo‘s Tortuga poniendo huevos (1973) carrying a $900k low estimate.
What may be a sleeper in the sale is Bennington College’s deaccessioning of a Diego Rivera work. The sale includes six other examples of Rivera’s work, some acquired acquired directly from the artist, from multiple estates.
Here’s Christie’s release with more details:
Christie’s announces the fall season of Latin American Art with the live auction taking place November 20-21 and an online auction running November 17-28. Combined, the sales include over 250 lots, offering a comprehensive selection from 18th-century colonial painting through modern and contemporary masterpieces, and together the sales expect to realize in excess of $18 million. Featured are works from private collections including Property to Benefit Art for Access at Bennington College, The Collection of A. Jerrold Perenchio, Property from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Gary Cooperand The Estate of Martha Hanes and Calder Willingham Womble. Works from the live and online auctions will be on view November 17-20 at Christie’s Rockefeller Plaza.
Leading the sale is the stunning canvas, Hombre feliz by Oaxacan artist Rufino Tamayo (estimate: $2-3 million). Painted in 1947, a year when Tamayo was actively challenging the so-called Mexican School, art historian Anna Indych-López explains that “Hombre Feliz and the works of this period represent this increased universalism and a determined and strategic participation in the international avantgarde.” The cover lot, also by a noted contemporary Mexican master is by Francisco Toledo, Tortuga poniendo huevos which was painted in 1973 (estimate: $900,000-1,200,000). Growing up around forests and marshes in Oaxaca shaped Toledo’s work which art historian Abby McEwen states “often celebrate[s] the syncretic spirituality of the indigenous world, depicting fantastic creatures in myriad states of metamorphosis and in intimate rituals of creation and consummation.” In Tortuga poniendo huevos, Toledo conjures his image of the seasonal nesting event where thousands of female turtles come ashore to lay their eggs.
The sale includes a strong selection of seven fresh-to-market works by the artist Diego Rivera most of which were acquired directly from the artist himself. From Property to Benefit Art for Access at Bennington College is a rare example of a work executed during Rivera’s brief stay in Moscow (1927-28), Communards (Comuna de Paris), a gouache painting that was executed in 1928 for a weekly Soviet magazine, Krasnaya Niva, (Red Field) later displayed at the MoMA retrospective of Rivera’s work in 1931 (estimate: $100,000-150,000). This work both celebrates the anniversary of the Russian Revolution and pays tribute to the 1871 uprisings of the Communards in Paris with clear visual links to Eugène Delacroix’s, Liberty Leading the People. The other six Rivera works depict Mexican children, two of the six are oil on canvas paintings executed in 1939, Niña con muñeca de trapo (estimate: $600,000-800,000) and Retrato de Inesita Martínez which comes from The Estate of Martha Hanes And Calder Willingham Womble (estimate: $500,000-700,000). Both works have remained in the same American family collections since they were acquired directly from the artist in the late 1930s-early 1940s.
Additional highlights include a Rufino Tamayo oil painting, Portrait of Mrs. Gary (Veronica) Cooper, the wife of Hollywood’s original leading man, Gary Cooper (estimate: $150,000-200,000), an important colonial work painted in 1744, The Assumption of the Virgin by Nicolás Enríquez was included in the recent landmark Mexican colonial exhibition, Painted in Mexico, 1700-1790: Pinxit Mexici, a rare work by Cuban vanguard artist Mariano Rodríguez from his “Mexican” period, Educando (estimate: $300,000-400,000) and a selectin of sculptures, paintings and drawings by the Colombian master Fernando Botero.
Complementing the live auction is the Latin American Art online sale, taking place from November 17-28, which includes over 60 lots, and features a selection of Mixogrfía© prints by Rufino Tamayo from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Sold to Benefit the Acquisitions of Latin American Art and a unique selection of tabletop sculpture by artists including Nadín Ospina, Pablo Atchugarry and Enio Iommi.