By Carter B. Horsley
Although this auction has works
by many famous,
established Latin American artists such as Wilfredo Lam (1902-1982)
and Diego Rivera, some of the more interesting works are by
artists such as Pablo Atchugarry (b. 1954), Ignacio Iturria (b.
1949), Guillermo Kuitca (b. 1961), Fernando Canovas (b. 1960),
Gustavo Lopez Armentia (b. 1949), Romulo Maccio (b. 1931) and
Armando Morales (b. 1927).
Lot 56, for example, is a
sculpture in pink Portugal marble by Pablo Atchugarry who was
born in Uruguay. The 83-inch-high work, whose many folds conjure
the wonderful drapery of Classical sculptures of women, was executed
this year. It has an estimate of $30,000 to $35,000 and was exhibited
in the center of the stairwell at Christie's prior to the auction.
It sold for $101,575.
Uruguayan artist Ignacio
Iturria creates dark scenes that are filled with mystery and whimsy.
Lot 108, "Cuatro hilera con un avion," is a good example
of his work. It is an oil on canvas that measures 39 by 32 inches.
It was executed circa 1995. It has an estimate of $10,000 to $15,000.
It sold for $11,950.
painterly work by Iturria
is Lot 111, "Escolares en el tostador," an oil on canvas
that measures 52 by 38 inches. Executed circa 1997, it has an
estimate of $18,000 to $22,000 and has a fascinating surface.
It failed to sell.
the younger artists
in this auction have developed a surface technique employing sand
that is reminiscent of much of Rufino Tamayo's. Lot 135, "Sin
titulo," is a stunning abstraction by Fernando Canovas. An
acrylic and sand on canvas, it measures 78 1/4 inches square and
was executed in 1998. It has an estimate of $18,000 to $20,000.
It sold for $14,340.
"Todo un pasado,"
by Argentinian artist Gustavo Lopez Armentia, does not use sand
but has a wonderful topographical texture and sensibility. An
oil on canvas that measures 75 1/4 inches square, it was executed
in 1992. It has an estimate of $20,000 to $25,000. It failed
plan with candles)," is a very striking abstraction in the
vein of Irene Rice Pereira by Argentinian artist Guillermo Kuitca.
An acrylic on canvas, it measures 73 1/2 by 36 1/4 inches. It
was executed in 1991 and has an estimate of $60,000 to $80,000.
It sold for $71,700.
engañan," is a very large and colorful work by Argentinian
artist Romulo Maccio. An acrylic on canvas, it measures 63 5/8
by 51 inches and was executed in 1965. It has an estimate of $10,000
to $15,000. It sold for $31,070. Another similar work by him,
Lot 119, "Destrado," had an estimate of $12,000 to $15,000
and sold for $45,410.
the more intriguing
works in the auction is Lot 58, "The Nightwatch of Dr. Kauffman,"
by Benjamin Cañas (1933-1987), a Salvadorian artist. An
oil on wood panel that measures 48 by 72 inches, it was executed
in 1976. The striking and eerie composition has an estimate of
$80,000 to $100,000. It failed to sell.
cover illustration of the
catalogue is Lot 15, "San title (La Pareja)," a fine
and impressive gouache on paper by Wilfredo Lam that measures
51 1/8 by 33 inches. Executed in 1935, it has an estimate of $350,000
to $450,000. It sold for $881,000.
catalogue provides the
following commentary on this lot:
themselves to a modern arrangement of form and color, the figures
in La Parejo act as a breaking point in the
Matisse and Picasso are obvious references in Lam's early work.
Matisse, a Fauve and admirer of color as the basic tool to create
a composition, inspired in Lam the possibility of using thick
black brushstrokes to define figures and space. Likewise, Lam
adopted and modified colors by using mostly pastels, a trend that
lasted until the early 1940s when he returned to Cuba and executed
the forest scenes of 1942. Picasso's influence on Lam during this
early period was exerted in the conceptual interest to represent
the true nature of the 'primitive.' Compositionally, this was
translated into a further simplification of form and an added
element of the symbolic and the mythical. La Pareja
as a modern composition through the graceful arrangement of its
figures. Moving within space, they accentuate their presence through
the massiveness and seminal importance given to the bodies. This
masterful composition alludes to the story of Lam and Balbina
Barrera, his companion at the time and the woman with whom he
discovered the beaches of Andalusia."
typical, albiet quite
bright, abstraction by Lam is Lot 18, "Charbon de mer."
An oil on canvas that measures 25 1/4 by 37 7/8 inches, it was
painted in 1945. It has an estimate of $300,000 to $400,000. It
failed to sell.
auction has several works
by Rufino Tamayo (1899-1991). The best is Lot 35, "Juego
de niños (Children's Games)," an oil on canvas that
measures 53 1/4 by 76 3/4 inches. It was executed in 1960 and
has an estimate of $500,000 to $700,000. It sold for $567,500.
is a good and typical Tamayo. An oil and sand on canvas, it measures
51 by 37 1/4 inches and was executed in 1979. It was consigned
by the Los Angeles County Museum to benefit the acquisition of
Latin American Art. It has an estimate of $400,000 to $600,000.
It sold for $433,100.
in the auction is Lot 48, "Selva Tropical Decidua (Foret,
Tropicale, Décidue)," by Armando Morales. An oil on
canvas that measures 51 1/8 by 102 3/8 inches, it was painted
in 1992. It has an estimate of $250,000 to $300,000. It
catalogue entry for this
lot provides the following commentary:
deep greens and golden
browns used in the palette...clearly portray autumn. This coming
to an end, the completion of a cycle, may be understood as a metaphor
to the political unrest in Nicaragua and the resulting exile of
the artist. In the present painting, Morales captures like no
other painter the intricate lushness and the striking beauty of
the tropics while alluding to nostalgia. The feeling of loss is
heartfelt in this golden jungle."
also paints with a
more contrasty and more saturated palette and often depicts urban
scenes. Lot 104, for example, is entitled "Bañistas
y barco rojo" and is oil and beeswax on canvas. It measures
19 3/4 by 28 3/4 inches and was painted in 1986. It has an estimate
of $35,000 to $45,000. It sold for $41,825.
is a very colorful work
by Fernando Botero. Entitled, "El milago de St. Hilarion
(The Miracle of St. Hilarion)," it is an oil on canvas that
measures 15 3/4 by 74 3/4 inches. Executed in 1958-9, it has an
estimate of $150,000 to $200,000. It sold for $175,500.
"Bolsas de papel,"
is a classic "paper bag" painting by Claudio Bravo (b.
1936). An oil on canvas, it measures 40 by 29 1/4 inches and was
executed in 1970. It has an estimate of $250,000 to $300,000.
It sold for $276,300.
is a cased pair of flintlock
pistols by Nicolas-Noel Boutet that were made circa 1804-6 and
belonged to Simon Bolivar. The lot has an estimate of $600,000
to $800,000. It sold for $1,687,500.