NEW YORK.- Sothebys two-day sale of Latin American Art totaled $21,392,800, above its estimate of $14,626,000/19,732,000. The evening sale last night brought $16,811,200 (est. $10,385,000/14,000,000) and was highlighted by Mario Carreños Danza Afro-Cubana (Afro-Cuban Dance), lot 8, which set a record for the artist at auction, selling for $2,616,000 to great applause against an estimate of $600/800,000. The painting had not been on public view since it was featured in the groundbreaking exhibition Modern Cuban Painters at New Yorks Museum of Modern Art in 1944, a year after its execution, and it was recently rediscovered in a private U.S. collection.
Carmen Melián, Head of the Latin American Art department, said, We are thrilled with the results of the spring sale, which set eleven artist records. The Carreño, which sold for over three times over its high estimate, is the holy grail of Cuban art history and possesses spectacular provenance and condition. We witnessed cross-over from other categories and global buying which deepens with every sale. This was one of the most consistent sales ever, and we worked hard to achieve positive results for all of our consigners, fetching strong prices across all lot values and for all genres of Latin American Art.
In addition to the Carreño, additional artist records were set tonight, among them Joaquín Torres-Garcías Composition, 1932, lot 18, which brought $1,272,000 (est. $1/1.5 million). This work, which comes from the prestigious Neumann Family Collection, one of the most important private collections of 20th Century Art, is a complex and unusually colorful example of the constructivist work of Uruguayan painter Torres-García, a founding member of the 1920s Parisian abstract movement Cercle et Carré (Circle and Square).
Another highlight of the evening sale was Francisco Zúñigas sculpture Desnudo de Victoria, lot 17, which sold for $936,000, many times over its estimate of $100/150,000, to a bidder on the phone. The sale of this work set a record for a stone sculpture by the artist at auction.
A superb selection of works by Fernando Botero included Reclining Nude with Book, lot 7, from 1998, which brought $824,000 (est. $700/900,000). Another work by the artist, L'Enlevement d'Europe, lot 36, sold for $656,000 (est. $175/225,000). Botero is well-known for his repertoire of rotund and disproportionate figures and objects rendered with barely perceptible brushwork and with remarkably smooth pictorial surfaces that belie the artifice of his craft.
The day sale demonstrated continued strength in the market for works by Botero: lot 143, Homme à la Guitar, sold for $300,000 (est. $80/100,000). The day sale also featured Tomas Sanchez Seguir el Sonido de las Aguas, selling for $168,000 (est. $50/60,000); Remedios Varos La Batalla, lot 137, selling for $120,000 (est. $40/50,000); and Mattas Sans Titre, lot 141, selling for $108,000 (est. $60/80,000).
In total, eleven artist records were set, including the aforementioned works by Torres-García and Carreño as well as Pedro Figaris El Palito, lot 4 for $180,000; Carmelo Arden Quins Structures 3, lot 19 for $65,000; Juan Melés Marco Recordato, lot 20 for $70,000; Jorge de la Vegas El Diario de Santos LOuverture, lot 21 for $360,000; Agustín Cárdenas Untitled, lot 25 for $110,000; Antonio Asis Composition in Blue, lot 40 for $40,000; Rogello Polsellos Untitled, lot 47 for $35,000; David Alfaro Siqueiross Untitled, lot 9 for $120,000; and Armando Reveróns Paisaje, lot 27 for $380,000. A record for a work on paper by Reverón was also set: Las Tres Modelos, lot 5, sold for $260,000 (est. $150/200,000).