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Sotheby's New York announces Latin American art sale to be held on 19 and 20 November
Matta, Nada. Oil on canvas, 28 3/4 by 36 1/4 in. Painted in 1943. Est. 1.5/2 million. Photo: Sotheby's.

NEW YORK, NY.- Sotheby’s fall sale of Latin American Art in New York on 19 and 20 November 2012 will showcase a range of paintings and sculptures by the region’s most important artists and dating from Colonial times and the 19th Century to the Modern and Contemporary periods. Highlights are currently on view at our York Avenue headquarters in New York.

Surrealist Works
Latin American Surrealist artists are strongly represented in this sale, highlighted by Matta’s Nada (est. $1.5/2 million, illustrated on the sale catalogue’s cover), coming from a private New York collection. Painted in 1943 during the darkest weeks of the Second World War, Nada is a breakthrough painting which marks a departure from the brilliant throbbing color and multi-dimensional spaces of Matta’s Mexican-inspired series. The uniqueness of this painting is in the way it signals not only a new direction in Matta’s work, but a change in consciousness that eventually would become widespread. Nada has been exhibited at many major museums across the world including the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and the Miami Art Museum. Other important works by Matta offered in the sale include Syllable of Spring (est. $300/400,000) and Les Vitamerdres de L’Space (est. $200/300,000).

Also highlighted in the sale is a work by Surrealist artist Wifredo Lam, Charbon de Mer (est. $400/600,000), a rare and dynamic, blue and white composition from 1945. Cuban Surrealist sculptor Agustín Cárdenas, featured in the 1999 groundbreaking 1999 show Surrealism: Two Private Eyes at the Guggenheim in New York, is represented in our sale with L’histoire n’est pas finie III (est. $125/175,000). This work is an exceptionally rare piece that stands over three meters tall and is made from burnt wood.

Mexico has prime presence in the sale, including a major piece of Mexican national patrimony, Portrait of Moctezuma II (estimate upon request), executed by an anonymous hand in the late 17th Century. This full body portrait of the last Aztec emperor Moctezuma ranks among the most important pieces of Mexican colonial art and is one of the most widely reproduced depictions of the leader. This piece is one of only two surviving portraits of Moctezuma, and there is currently nothing like this in private hands. The painting resurfaced several decades ago in Paris in the prestigious collection of Geo Dupin and was brought back to Mexico. It has been exhibited in both the British Museum and the National Museum of Art in Mexico.

El Costeño (estimate upon request) by José Agustín Arrieta, perhaps the most outstanding painter of his time outside the Mexican capital, is among his most outstanding and singular achievements. This painting was one of the few 19th Century masterpieces included in the exhibition Mexico: Thirty Centuries of Splendor at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 1992.

Dr. Atl’s (Gerardo Murillo) Mañana Luminosa (est. $1.5/2 million) is one of the most spectacular landscapes ever painted by a Mexican artist. Painted in 1942, this is the largest piece ever to come to auction by Dr. Atl at 631/3 by 122 inches. El Señor del Veneno (est. $150/250,000) by David Alfaro Siqueiros is widely acknowledged as the masterpiece of his early period. This stylized figurative work shows for the first time the social themes that would occupy Siqueiros’ work for the rest of his career. This painting comes from the Aaron Family Trust to support the Texas-Mexico Cultural Project.

Francisco Toledo, the most important living Mexican artist, is represented with two works in our sale, both coming from the same distinguished private collection. The rare Onagro (Wild Ass) (est. $400/600,000) from 1976 was acquired directly from the artist, and Gatos con Pesadillas (est. $500/700,000) is a 1975 oil and sand on canvas, which gives the painting an earthy and real quality.

Realist Works
The Realist works up for auction include Un Paseo en el Parque (est. $100/150,000) by Venezuelan artist Armando Reverón, one of the most prominent figures in Latin America. This 1922 oil on canvas from Reverón’s “blue period” is an exciting rediscovery which has remained in the J.P. Marx family home for the past 80 years in Holland. Un Paseo en el Parque is one of the very few landscapes of the early 1920s.

Important Colonial and 19th Century
Mueble Enconchado (est. $90/120,000) from the Spanish Colonial School in the late 17th/early 18th Century is a rare, tortoiseshell and ebony cabinet inlaid with foliate scrolls, stylized flowerheads and mother of pearls. An important topographical 19th Century painting offered is Italian traveler painter Pietro Gualdi’s Hacienda Nueva de Fresnillo con el Cerro de Proaño, Zacatecas Mexico (est. $90/120,000). Gualdi has provided visual documentation of life in the days of silver mining.

Our sale is strongly represented by over a century of work by Brazilian artists. A Panoramic View of the Bay of Belém Do Pará, Brazil (est. $150/200,000) by Giuseppe Leone (Joseph León) Righini is a scene from the most important port city at the mouth of the Amazon River during the rubber boom. In the center of the 1870 composition are the double white towers of the cathedral which still stands today, and this detailed view shows typical Amazonian water crafts, steam paddle boats and a French sailing ship awaiting loading. Righini is known for his topographical paintings and drawings, and his are some of the last great topography art.

Cândido Portinari was commissioned for a series of murals for the building that is now known as the Palácio Gustavo Capanema. His 1938 Fumo (Final Study for the Mural Tobacco at Palácio Gustavo Capanema, Rio de Janeiro) (est. $200/300,000) is a study for the murals he was creating and comes from a private collection in New Jersey. An additional work offered by Cândido Portinari is Caçador de Onça (est. $35/45,000), an exquisite work on paper from 1955.

Abstract Movement & Contemporary Art
Works from the Abstract Movement up for auction include an early 1960 work by Venezuelan Abstract Art master Jesús Rafael Soto. La Scie a Metaux (The Hacksaw) (est. $700/900,000) from the baroque period was formerly in the prestigious collection of industrialist Hans Neumann in Caracas. Gego’s ethereal 1971 construction Reticulárea Cuadrada (est. $500/700,000) has been in a private collection in Caracas since it was acquired directly from Gego after completion. Tre Elementi (est. $180/250,000) by Sergio Camargo is a 1968 painted wood construction and was exhibited at the Galleria La Polena in Genoa as well as at Henie Onstad Kunstsenter in Hovikodden. Also by Sergio Camargo is Untitled (N° 235) (est. $100/150,000), a painted wood construction with metal springs, which was also exhibited at Henie Onstad Kunstsenter. Cildo Meireles’ contemporary work Serie C (2B) (est. $150/200,000) from 1996 represents a tic-tac-toe board made of a series of rulers laid down on Masonite.

Cuban artwork in the sale is led by two works from the collection of John and Toni Leighton. The 1945 Still Life (est. $180/220,000) by Amelia Peláez was exhibited at The Art Institute of Chicago, Zegrí Gallery in New York and at the Metropolitan Museum and Art Center Collection in Miami. Cuarto Fambá (est. $80/100,000) by Mario Carreño has resurfaced after more than sixty years and depicts an African Cuban prayer room.

The auction takes place on Monday 19 November 2012, 7pm and Tuesday 20 November 2012, 10am.

* Estimates do not include a buyer’s premium.

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