Friday, June 01, 2007

New Record for Mario Carreño at $2.6 Million

New Record for Mario Carreño at $2.6 Million

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Mario Carreño, Danza Afro-Cubana sold for $2,616,000 against an estimate of $600/800,000. Image © Sotheby's.

NEW YORK.- Sotheby’s spring evening sale of Latin American Art exceeded its high estimate, totaling $16,811,200 (est. $10,385,000/14,000,000). The offering was highlighted by Mario Carreño’s Danza Afro-Cubana (Afro-Cuban Dance), lot 8, which set a record for the artist at auction, selling for $2,616,000 to great applause, against an estimate of $600/800,000. The painting had not been on public view since it was featured in the groundbreaking exhibition Modern Cuban Painters at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 1944, a year after its execution, and it was recently rediscovered in a private U.S. collection. The Latin American art sale continues tomorrow, on Thursday, May 31 at 10:00 am. Full results will be distributed for the two-day sale (est. $14,626,000/19,732,000) upon its conclusion.

Carmen Melián, Head of the Latin American Art department, said, “We are thrilled with the results of tonight’s sale, which set eleven artist records. The Carreño, which sold for over three times over its high estimate, is the holy grail of Cuban art history and possesses spectacular provenance and condition. We witnessed cross-over from other categories and global buying which deepens with every sale of Latin American Art.”

In addition to the Carreño, additional artist records were set tonight, among them Joaquín Torres-García’s Composition, 1932, lot 18, which brought $1,272,000 (est. $1/1.5 million). This work is a complex and unusually colorful example of the constructivist work of Torres-García, the Uruguayan painter who was a founding member of the 1920s Parisian abstract movement Cercle et Carré (Circle and Square). The work’s provenance includes the prestigious Neumann Family Collection, undoubtedly one of the most important collections of 20th Century Art in private hands today.

Another highlight of tonight’s sale was Francisco Zúñiga’s sculpture Desnudo de Victoria, lot 17, which sold for $936,000, many multiple times over its high estimate to a bidder on the phone, against an estimate of $100/150,000. The sale of this work set a record for a stone sculpture by the artist at auction.

A superb selection of works by Fernando Botero included Reclining Nude with Book, lot 7, from 1998, which brought $824,000 (est. $700/900,000). Another work by the artist, L'Enlevement d'Europe, lot 36, sold for $656,000 (est. $175/225,000). Botero is well-known for his repertoire of rotund and disproportionate figures and objects rendered with barely perceptible brushwork and with remarkably smooth pictorial surfaces that belie the artifice of his craft. His sensuous reclining nudes celebrate the female form in all their plenitude and exuberance à la baroque renderings of Rubens and Titian, while injecting this traditional genre with a contemporary edge.

In total, eleven artist records were set, including the aforementioned works by Torres-García and Carreño as well as Pedro Figari’s El Palito, lot 4 for $180,000; Armando Reverón’s Paisaje, lot 27 $380,000; David Alfaro Siqueiros’s Untitled, lot 9 for $120,000; Carmelo Arden Quin’s Structures 3, lot 19 for $65,000; Juan Melé’s Marco Recordato, lot 20 for $70,000; Jorge de la Vega’s El Diario de Santos L’Ouverture, lot 21 for $360,000; Agustín Cárdenas’ Untitled, lot 25 for $110,000; Antonio Asis’ Composition in Blue, lot 40 for $40,000; and Rogello Polsello’s Untitled, lot 47 for $35,000.

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