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Stylized Nudes Expected to Top Latin American Art Sales at Christie's and Sotheby's
Carlos Luna's "Esas La Mia," left, highlights a wall of artworks that are part of a Latin American art sale on display at Sotheby's in New York, Monday, Nov. 16, 2009. AP Photo/Kathy Willens.

By: Walker Simon

NEW YORK, NY (REUTERS).- A bronze of a voluptuous nude holding a cigarette and a volcanic landscape strewn with lifeless limbs top this week's Latin American art auctions.

The New York sales at Christie's and Sotheby's follow strong auctions this month for Modern and Impressionist art, stirring hopes of a rebound in the Latin American art market after weak sales in the spring.

"The psychology of the market is different now ... than when there was collapse of the financial markets," said Christie's Latin American expert Virgilio Garza, referring to the slump in the stock market.

"People were careful then with spending, now there is more confidence."

"Endless Nudes," painted by Chile's Matta, could fetch up to $3 million, according to Sotheby's.

Inspired by Mexican volcanoes, the 1941 work is a turbulent mix of stylized limbs falling from a darkened sky into an earth of flashing yellows and reds, with swirls of green.

The work, according to Sotheby's, influenced budding U.S. abstract artists including Arshile Gorky and Jackson Pollock.

"Smoking Woman," a nearly 12-feet-long bronze sculpture by Colombian Fernando Botero, who known for celebrating large women with abundant curves, is valued at up to $1.2 million by Christie's.

The sculpted nude sprawls on a sheet. The strands of her thick shoulder-length hair offer almost a photographic detail not commonly seen in sculpture.

Rufino Tamayo's "Women" and Cuban Wifredo Lam's "Sans Titre," portray imaginary animal-human hybrids. High estimates for each are $800,000 at Christie's.

Chilean Claudio Bravo's "White, Blue and Yellow Papers" paints creases of crumpled paper as ridges jutting from a canvas of countless hues. Its high estimate at Christie's is $600,000.

In total, Christie's projects sales of $15.3 million to $21.2 million in auctions on Tuesday and Wednesday, up from $13.8 million sold in May.

Sotheby's sees its Wednesday and Thursday sales drawing $11.4 million to $16.1 million. Its sale in May fetched $9.4 million in May.

Christie's | Latin American Art | Virgilio Garza |  |

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November 17, 2009

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