Sotheby's announces highlights of Latin American Art to be auctioned this November in New York

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Sotheby's announces highlights of Latin American Art to be auctioned this November in New York
Joaquín Torres-García, Constructivo en blanco y negro (Inti), 1938. Estimate $2/3 million. Courtesy Sotheby’s.

NEW YORK, NY.- Sotheby’s shared highlights from their upcoming offering of Latin American Art, which will be auctioned across the marquee Evening and Day sales of Impressionist & Modern and Contemporary Art this November in New York. All works are now on public exhibition in Sotheby’s York Avenue galleries.

Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale 12 November 2019
In her catalogue essay, Anna Indych-López, Stuart Z. Katz Professor of the Humanities and the Arts at The Graduate Center, CUNY, describes Rufino Tamayo’s La Máscara roja (estimate $4/6 million) as “a breakthrough painting that signals a departure from the artist’s earlier densely packed figurative works and announces a transition to a new more sparse, yet intensely colored hieratic style focusing on isolated figures, especially the female nude… A study in form, specifically the particular seated pose associated with depictions of an enthroned Virgin Mary, La Máscara roja secularizes that venerated iconography, translating its essential elements to conjure a universal figure.”

Painted in 1938, Constructivo en blanco y negro (Inti) is one of the best-known and most-exhibited of Joaquín Torres-García’s works (estimate $2/3 million). From 1937 onwards, Torres-García was involved in his “Indo-American project,” concerned with separating his version of constructivist abstraction – which he called Universal Constructivism – from its European origins. As a part of this program, Torres-García began incorporating motifs derived from the art and architecture of pre-Columbian civilizations throughout his work. The constructions of this period are rigorously geometric, with emphasis on the organizational grid, made even stronger by the use of subtle shading to create a sense of bas-relief. Torres-García’s deep fascination in Pre-Columbian architecture is visible here in the architectonic structure of Inti; its title, Inti refers to the Andean sun god believed to be the ancestor of the Inca rulers, and its composition harkens to the city-plan grid of the Inca fortress of Sacsayhuamán.

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale 13 November 2019
Sotheby’s will present an important work from the collection of Mercedes Barcha Pardo and Gabriel García Márquez, the Nobel Prize-winning author and master of magical realism. Femme avec un oiseau from 1949 portrays the seductive figure of a femme cheval, the avatar of female power largely considered the cornerstone motif in Wifredo Lam's work (estimate $800,000/1.2 million). As a formal archetype, the femme cheval embodies the Africanized forms, modernist hybridization and anatomical disjuncture first consolidated in The Jungle (1943), Lam's preeminent masterpiece in the collection of The Museum of Modern Art in New York.

A highlight of Sotheby’s November offering of Surrealist art is Remedios Varo’s L’École buissonnière (Haciendo novillos) from 1962 – an essential example of the artist’s visual lexicon (estimate $800,000/1.2 million). Grounding the extraordinary into the ordinary, she invites viewers into a world within the context of daily experience, filling her paintings with self-referential characters who are abstracted, metaphoric and ironic. Literally translating to “school in the bush,” and colloquially as “playing hooky,” Varo presents us with a youth who has snuck away to the forest in pursuit of the secret connections between the human and otherworldly.

Steeped in layers of resonance, Rufino Tamayo’s Sandías invokes the artist’s childhood years spent selling fruit in the market, the colors of the Mexican flag and the languorous and intoxicating pleasure of cold, sticky, sweet fruit on a blistering afternoon (estimate $600/800,000). Following a period of dark, contemplative painting immediately surrounding World War II, Tamayo narrowed his creative focus dramatically. Abandoning the emotive narrative compositions of the previous decade, in the 1950s he began to paint radically simplified scenes in which his subjects are subsumed by atmospheric color.

Contemporary Art Evening Auction 14 November 2019
Double écriture noir et vert is one of the earliest and most complex examples from Jesús Rafael Soto’s heralded Écriture series to appear at auction (estimate $800,000/1.2 million). Executed in 1966, Double écriture represents the most definitive and triumphant example of Soto’s fully-formed kinetic vocabulary. Exhibited by the Guggenheim Museum, New York in 1974 as a highlight of Soto’s first major museum retrospective organized in the United States, this work solidified Soto as the father of Kineticism.

Contemporary Art Day Auction 15 November 2019
Carlos Cruz-Diez began the Physichromie series in 1959 in Paris, having invented this term to communicate his comprehensive intention for these works. In this seminal series Cruz-Diez both explores the physical effects of color on the viewer and encourages the viewer to experience color or "chroma" as unfolding and continually changing, much as color is experienced in nature. The Contemporary Day Auction on 15 November offers three works from the series, with estimates ranging from $100,000 - $300,000.

A strong selection of six works on offer by Fernando Botero are led by his Rape of Europa (Abduction of Europa) from 1992 (estimate $1.8/2.5 million). Measuring more than ten feet tall, this monumental sculpture is a homage to Titian’s Rape of Europa, and stands among his most celebrated sculptural series. As with other historical imagery, Botero reveals a surprising alternative narrative: one where women have been purposely afforded control of their fates. Further highlighting the offering is Mrs. Rubens #3, the largest and the most graciously executed work from a series of portraits inspired by Peter Paul Rubens’s portraits of his wives to come to auction (estimate $800,000/1.2 million).

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