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Christie's Latin American Evening Sale Offers Rare Masterworks
Emiliano di Cavalcanti (Brazilian 1897-1976), Sonhos do carnaval, signed and dated 'E. di Cavalcanti, 1955' (lower left), oil on canvas, 51 x 63 in. (130 x 160 cm.). Painted in 1955. Estimate: $800,000-1,200,000. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd 2010.

NEW YORK, NY.- On May 26 and 27, Christie's Latin American sale will offer an exceptional selection of works by modern and contemporary masters hailing from Mexico, Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, Puerto Rico, Colombia, and many other regions throughout the Americas. Rich in works from private collections, the two-day auction presents nearly 300 works by leading Latin American artists such as Frida Kahlo, Fernando Botero, Joaquín Torres-García, José María Velasco, Gunther Gerzso, and Rufino Tamayo, among others.

Christie’s will offer Survivor, 1938 by Frida Kahlo (1907-1954) (estimate: $100,000-150,000) as one of the outstanding highlights of the Latin American Evening Sale. This will mark the first time that this rare and extraordinary work has come to market since it was initially exhibited in 1938 at the Julien Levy Gallery, in Kahlo’s very first solo exhibition.

Fernando Botero is well represented in the sale with major works that exhibit both the breadth and scope of his oeuvre. Botero’s Woman on a Horse, 2002 (estimate: $800,000-1,200,000) is a terrific, monumental bronze that demonstrates the artist’s penchant for playing with scale. This sculpture is an iconic example of one of the artist’s most beloved themes: the equestrian subject, in which a sumptuous, beautiful, strong female nude is executed in the bronze medium.

Also leading the Evening Sale is a notable work by the Uruguayan artist, Joaquín Torres-García. Composición constructiva en planos y figuras, 1931 (estimate: $800,000-1,200,000) is symbolically structured to embody an ideal harmony within the universe. In its grid like formation and universal ideograms, the painting functions as a microcosm of universal order, a notion that emerged from the artistic practices and theories of Neo-Plasticism and Constructivism, envisioned by masters such as Piet Mondrian and Theo van Doesburg.

The cover lot of the sale is Paisaje de Papantla, 1955 (estimate: $550,000-750,000) by Mexican artist Gunther Gerzso, one of the pioneers of abstraction in postwar Mexico. The influence of modern masters from Klee to Kandinsky can be felt in works like Paisaje de Papantla, a signature work of the artist’s mature period, powerfully extracting the literal architectural and cultural references of the landscape within a complex and fluid brightly-colored palette.

The sale has very strong Brazilian representation leading with a fabulous painting by Emiliano di Cavalcanti who is hailed as the patriarch of modern Brazilian painting. Sonhos do carnival (estimate: $800,000- 1,200,000), executed in 1955, functions as a consummate image of the winsome “carioca” spirit and is both a modernist painting and a social affirmation of the artist’s identification with the underprivileged and marginalized classes of Brazilian society. Moreover, the painting demonstrates the way in which Di Cavalcanti celebrates the many beauties of the feminine body, depicting women in fantastic states of dreamlike reverie, lyrical gesture, and costumes vibrant in color and bold design.

Among the sale’s Brazilian representation are works executed by the artists Sergio Camargo and Beatriz Milhazes. Camargo’s Relief No. 188, 1967 (estimate: $500,000-700,000), is made of diagonally cut wooden cylinders affixed to a flat wooden board, with each of the pieces projecting at different angles. The result is an endlessly fascinating study of volume and form, the interplay of light and shadow adding a layer of organic sensibility to the geometric construction. Milhazes’ 578 (estimate: $250,000 – 350,000), painted in 1994, is a synthesis of baroque garb within a richly intellectualized pictorial environment – decorative details are reassembled into myriad serial and concentric circles. This laborious process is a hallmark of Milhazes, a self proclaimed “conceptual carnivalesque.”

The sale offers a superb selection of works by Mexican artists. Leading the group is José María Velasco’s El Valle de México desde el Cerro de Santa Isabel, 1884 (estimate: $600,000-800,000). Representing the artist’s mature style and personal conception of the Mexican landscape, the work depicts a wonderful sense of space and light bounded by the mountain panorama along the horizon. Other Mexican works include Alfredo Ramos Martínez’s, Young Woman Carrying Flowers (estimate: $350,000- 450,000) and Pedro Coronel’s Sobre la tumba de Justino, 1974 (estimate: $250,000-350,000).

The Lynch Family collection offers a superb group of Mexican paintings highlighted by masterworks by Rufino Tamayo and José Clemente Orozco. Notably, Danzantes (estimate: $500,000-700,000), a 1963 oil and sand painting, the work is a culmination of the undeniable expressionist and abstract influences the artist fused with his own celebrated, signature style. Also included is José Clemente Orozco’s The City, 1929 (estimate: $200,000- 300,000), a jarring work that visually captures the cultural, social and economic devastation of the Stock Market Crash of 1929.

Christie's | Latin American Sale | Frida Kahlo | Fernando Botero |

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