Last week, Christie’s concluded its top Latin American Art sale rescheduled from its original date in the Spring. With 75 lots on offer ranging from Spanish colonial paintings from the 17th to 18th centuries to Latin American modernists the sale brought in $14 million, down 18% from the previous year total in the May equivalent sale that had 134 lots.
Latin American artists saw a host of new benchmarks this season with the female surrealists seeing heightened collecting interest. The highest priced lots were by modernists for abstract works by Wifredo Lam and Rufino Tamayo. Lam’s Femme Cheval from 1950 placed with a buyer for $2.4 million, landing within its estimate of $2 million to $3 million. That work came to the market for the first time since 1983 from the estate of collector, William Campbell. Lam was the subject of solo surveys at Pierre Matisse Gallery in New York and at Havana’s Parque Central in 1950. These two shows helped promote the femmes cheval series to international acclaim.
Tamayo’s double-figured 1950 painting Dos amantes contemplando la luna achieved $2.3 million hammering near its low estimate. The work had resurfaced on the market after two decades in a private collection. British artist, Leonara Carrington who spent decades of her formative career in Mexico also saw a high result in the auction. Her 1941 painting La joie de patinage (The Joy of Skating) was formerly owned by Alexina Duchamp, ex-wife of Henri Matisse and second wife of Marcel Duchamp. Boasting a strong provenance, the work is valuable for its similarities to her Bird Superior: Portrait of Max Ernst, painted around 1939 in Saint Martin d’Ardèche when she lived with the famous Surrealist. The work placed in the middle of its estimate range, making $519,000, and establishing the work the top 20 prices achieved by the artist at auction.Continue Reading