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Sotheby's 19 & 20 November Latin American Art Auctions to be presented in a new format
Leonora Carrington, El juglar, signed and dated 1954 lower left, oil on canvas, 37 1/2 by 37 1/2 in. 94 by 94 cm. Est. $1.5/2 million.

NEW YORK, NY.- Sotheby’s November auction Latin America: Modern Art features artworks by leading artists engaged in traditional landscape painting, portraiture, cubism, Mexican muralism, surrealism, social realism, and hyper-realism, among others. The sale highlights works executed in long established media from the late 19th and throughout the 20th Century. Leading the auction is an exceptional group of Surrealist art, including key examples by Leonora Carrington, Wolfgang Paalen, Wifredo Lam, and Cícero Dias. The evening sale at 7:00PM on 19 November will feature 37 lots, with the day sale taking place the following morning at 10:00AM on 20 November. The exhibition will open to the public in Sotheby’s York Avenue galleries on 14 November at 10:00AM.

Surrealism is represented throughout the Modern Art auction, led by Leonora Carrington’s The Juggler from 1954 (est. $1.5/2 million). Carrington’s lifelong interest in myths and ancient legends, in addition to pre-Hispanic culture, was amplified through her association with the Surrealists, and the present work exemplifies this fascination. The Juggler refers to the first card of the tarot and presents a composition populated by hybrid creatures and animals engaged with tiny characters reminiscent of pre-Hispanic beliefs in nahualismo, the power to take an animal form to interact with humans. The painting belonged to the collection of Edward James, the British friend and patron of the artist, who also championed Salvador Dalí and René Magritte.

An additional Surrealist highlight in the auction is Wolfgang Paalen’s 1944 masterpiece, Les Cosmogones (est. $300/400,000). Completed at the peak of his artistic activity in Mexico, Les Cosmogones evokes the experience of universal cosmic consciousness as a dynamic form. Surrealism is further represented in the sale with A dificil partida by Brazilian artist Cícero Dias (est. $100/150,000), Wifredo Lam’s Le miel noir from 1945— an exceptional painting from the artist’s most acclaimed period (est. $600,800,000)— and Les sabots et la main from 1966 (est. $500/700,000).

The evening auction also features four works by Mexican modernist Rufino Tamayo, led by Bañistas en Cancún from 1988 (est. $1.2/1.6 million), an exceptionally textural painting from Tamayo’s late period. The November auction also features Tamayo’s Bañista from circa 193940, Venus en su alcoba from 1956 and Mujer voluptuosa from 1953 (est. $70/90,000, $650/750,000 and $350/450,000).

The evening and day sales of Modern art will include important works by Fernando Botero, offering a wideranging view of the artist’s career at estimates ranging from $20,000 to over $1 million. Included in the offering is a group of large sculpture, led by the monumental bronze Mother and Child (est. $1.2/1.8 million). The sculpture is a magnificent example of familial and intimate scenes, characteristic of Botero’s oeuvre. Leading the group of paintings by Botero is The Bashful Family from 1968, which has been interpreted as a deeply personal depiction of the artist’s childhood (est. $1.2/1.8 million). The canvas depicts a family in the interior of a kitchen, with the central focus again being the strong presence of the mother. The present painting was last offered at auction in November 1986, when it sold for $148,500 at Sotheby’s New York.

Sotheby’s 19 & 20 November auctions of Latin America: Contemporary Art is dedicated to avant-garde movements including Constructivism, Geometric Abstraction, Kinetic Art, Conceptual Art, Concrete/Neo-Concrete and new trends in contemporary art from the Americas. The sale follows the success of Sotheby’s themed auction in May 2015, which centered on the legacy of abstraction in Latin American art. The auction will feature 25 works by established and emerging artists including Joaquín Torres-García, Jesus Rafael Soto and León Ferrari. The evening auction on 19 November will take place at 8:00PM, immediately following Latin America: Modern Art. The exhibition will open to the public on 14 November in Sotheby’s York Avenue galleries.

Axel Stein, Head of Sotheby’s Latin American Art department, said: “Our decision to establish dedicated auctions of Contemporary Latin American art comes at an exciting time in the market; our curated sale in May of abstract art was well received by collectors and scholars alike, as it offered a highly curated vision of the genre. 36% of the buyers were new to Sotheby’s, and we were pleased to see 55% of bidders who are previously established Contemporary Art clients. The mastery of Latin American artists in the contemporary sphere is far-reaching and well respected, and we are thrilled to bring more attention to their work in the broader world of collectors.”

Constructivism is represented throughout the Evening Sale with major works by Joaquín Torres-García, whose landmark retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art is ongoing. Grafisme en Noir et Rouge from 1931 is a superb example of Torres-García’s defining style (est. $1/1.5 million). Dissatisfied with pure abstraction, Torres-García sought to evoke the complex and rich aspects of human experience, from the spiritual to the everyday. To achieve this he created a schematic, symbolic language system of basic images that function as containers of meaning. The sale is also highlighted by his painting from the prior year, 1930, Rue (Figures dans une structure) (est. $180/220,000) and an outstanding later work, Arte constructivo con sol y estrella (est. $500/700,000).

Three works by Jesús Rafael Soto exemplify the later Kinetic art movement, led by Composición (from the Barroco series), an iconic work from 1958 (est. $400/600,000). For Soto, Kinetic art attempted to “…free the material until it becomes as free as music.” Likewise, Soto experiments with Arte Povera in this work, elevating found objects to the status of fine art. Further highlights by the artist are his 1969 construction Inversión negro y plata (est. $300/400,000) and Saturación central verde y negro from 1975 (est. $250/350,000).

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