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Sotheby's Latin American Art Evening Sales Achieve Highest Ever Total: $21.7 Million
Fernando Botero, A Family. Oil on canvas, 74 x 74 in., 187.5 x 187.5 cm. Est. $1/1.5 million. Sold for $1,398,500. Photo: Sotheby's.
NEW YORK, NY.- “We were thrilled to achieve the highest ever total for an evening of Latin American Art at Sotheby’s, exceeding the results achieved at the height of the market in 2008,” commented Carmen Melián, Head of Latin American Art at Sotheby’s. “Bidding tonight was truly global and followed a trend we have seen over the past several seasons wherein regional artists attracted international appeal. It was gratifying to witness a depth in interest across the entire category - from a record price for a bronze by Botero to yet another record price achieved for Brazilian artist Meireles. We saw particularly heated competition for kinetic and abstract works and were pleased to achieve such a strong price for Otero, following the record price we achieved last fall.”

A Discerning Eye: Latin American Masterpieces from a Private Collection brought a number of strong prices for Rufino Tamayo, led by the $1,370,500 achieved by Madre Divirtiendo a Su Hijo from 1946 (est. $1/1.5 million). In addition, Mujer En Extasis from 1973 fetched $962,500 (est. $900,000/1.2 million), and Sandias from 1941 made $602,500 (est. $500/700,000). Other highlights included Diego Rivera’s The Old Hamlet of Toledo, which fetched $992,500 (est. $800,000/1million), and The Morphology of Desire by Matta, which sold for $902,500 ($700/900,000).

Fernando Botero: A Celebration was the first single-artist sale held by Sotheby’s Latin American Art department since the auction of Joaquín Torres-Garcia’s works from the estate of Royal S. Marks, held in 1992. The works were predominantly drawn from two highly distinguished collections, and were assembled over several decades. They include the quintessential themes and iconic images that have made Botero arguably the most recognized living artist in the world. This sale was led by A Family from 1972, one of a series of family scenes painted throughout Botero’s career, which sold for $1,398,500 (est. $1/1.5 million). The late sculpture Man on a Horse set a record for a bronze by the artist at auction when it sold for $1,172,500 after a contest involving three bidders.

Following a series of strong prices in recent sales, the Cuban artist Wifredo Lam led the various-owner sale with Les Oiseaux Voilés from 1945, which sold for $1,022,500 (est. $800,000/1.2 million). El Árbol De La Vida by Leonora Carrington sold to a telephone bidder for $578,500 (est. $500/700,000). Joaquín Torres García’s 1920 painting Fourteenth Street was featured on the cover of the sale catalogue and sold for $362,500, in excess of its pre-sale high estimate (est. $150/200,000).

The auction also saw a number of strong prices for abstraction, with Estudio para Coloritmo Nº3 by Alejandro Otero selling for $554,500 (est. $350/450,000) and Jesús Rafael Soto’s Gran Azul from 1999 fetching $362,500 (est. $250/300,000). A 1965 Relief by Sergio Camargo exceeded its high estimate in selling for $842,500 after a competition between three bidders (est. $400/600,000), and In-Mensa by Cildo Meireles from 1982 sold for multiples of the high estimate to sell for $518,500 (est. $80/120,000).

* Pre-sale estimates do not include buyer’s premium

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