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Sotheby's Latin American Art Evening Sale Totals $ 14,814,500; Sets 8 New Records
Wilfredo Lam, Les Abalochas Dansent Pour Dhambala, dieu de l'unité, 1970. Est. $1.75/2.25 million. Sold for: $2,154,500 (£1,342,284). Photo: Sotheby's.

NEW YORK, NY.- Last night’s Evening Sale of Latin American Art at Sotheby’s in New York brought a total of $14,814,500, meeting pre-sale expectations (est. $14.5/19.8 million). The highlight of the evening was Les Abalochas Dansent Pour Dhambala, dieu de l'unité by Wifredo Lam which set a new record for the artist at auction when four bidders sent the price to $2,154,500 (est. $1.75/2.25 million). Les Abalochas was painted 1970 and once hung in the Cuban artist’s home in Italy. Other Lam highlights included an Untitled painting which sold for $470,500 (est. $400/600,000) and Femma from 1944 which fetched $374,500 (est. $250/350,000). In addition to Lam, at least seven other records were set for artists including Alejandro Otero and the 19th century artist Eugenio Landesio.

Carmen Melián, Head of Latin American Art at Sotheby’s said: “Tonight’s sale was in part an homage to Wifredo Lam, and the record price achieved for the cover lot was well deserved. It is a very special painting that brought together many aspects of his life – Cubism, Surrealism, his Afro-Cuban heritage and his association with the avant-garde movement CoBrA. One of the high points of the evening was the section of 19th century Mexican works – the quality was superb and sparked heated competition amongst Mexican collectors and many new records were set. Equally sought-after was the recently rediscovered panel by the father of abstraction in Venezuela, Alejandro Otero, which also brought a record price.”

Latin American abstraction continued its surge in popularity. Six bidders competed for Alejandro Otero’s lost masterpiece Coloritmo 9, which set a new record for the artist when it sold for $752,500 (est. $250/350,000). Records were also set for Luis Tomasello, whose Atmosphere Chromoplastique Nº 281 brought $170,500 (est. $80/100,000) and Abraham Palatnik, when his Progressão-42A sold for $182,500 (est. $150/200,000).

Mexican paintings from the 19th century achieved a series of record prices - El Requiebro by José Agustín Arrieta and Cruzando El Lago De Texcoco,Con Volcanes by Eugenio Landesio, sold for $482,500 each (est. $180/220,000); while Indio Con Traje De Gala En Puesto De Comida by Édouard-Henri-Théophile Pingret more than doubled the high estimate to fetch $302,500 (est. $90/120,000). All three were part of a group of paintings from the collection of Mrs. Vera da Costa Autrey, which also included Leonora Carrington’s Snake Bite Floripondio which soared past the high estimate to sell for $338,500 (est. $150/200,000).

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