Numerous World Records broken at Christie's $23.3m Latin American art sale

Works by Diego Rivera, Fernando Botero, Rufino Tamayo, and Beatriz Milhazes realised top prices at Christie's two-session sale of Latin American Art on November 17 & 18 in New York.

The auctions, conducted before a crowded sale room, brought new World Record auction prices and a grand total of $23,323,275. Across 2010, Christie's Latin American Paintings auctions have achieved a 54% market share with a combined total sales of $43,837,875.

"Fall 2010 has brought a renewed energy into the saleroom, with extraordinary prices for key artists," said Virgilio Garza, Head of Latin American Paintings at Christie's.

Buyers bid aggressively on prized works by Fernando Botero, Matta, Rufino Tamayo and Julio Le Parc, among others who realised exceptional prices. Brazilian works performed outstandingly well with 100% sell-through, including notable works by Beatriz Milhazes and Hélio Oiticica.

Fernando Botero's Family Scene, 1985, brought $1,706,500

"Christie's is also proud to offer a historic masterpiece by Colombian artist Alipio Jaramillo for the first time at auction, which surpassed its estimate by five times at $110,500," said Garza.

The total sale of 325 works was comprised of works from the 18th-21st century and represented artists from 14 countries across Latin America, including Chile, Cuba, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Nicaragua. Buyers were 49% American, 6% European and 45% other including Central and South America.

The sale's top lot was Fernando Botero (Colombian, b. 1932) Family Scene, 1985. It surpassed its high estimate of $1,500,000, ultimately realising $1,706,500. The remarkable Family Scene is inspired by Botero's fascination with the artistry and sport of tauromaquia, or the bullfight.

Here however, rather than just exalting the bullfight, Botero celebrates the family; the most universal of human institutions. The family sits proudly for a group portrait — its youngest member and most diminutive torero is still crawling.

Beatriz Milhazes' Machina, 1993 -1994, achieved $722,500

It was a season of successful Boteros, with artist's monumental Seated Woman, 2002, a bronze sculpture with a dark brown patina selling for an astounding $842,500.

Overall, Brazilian paintings dominated the sales with highlights such as Beatriz Milhazes (Brazilian B. 1960) Machina, 1993 -1994, which achieved $722,500. Machina juxtaposes Brazilian cultural references and imagery in this vibrant work.

The artist's feminized aesthetic - her exuberant use of patterning and layering of delicate motifs allude to the arts and crafts related traditionally to women's lives but to a larger extent, they update the language of abstraction.

Meanwhile, a long overdue world auction record was achieved for Adriana Varejão (Brazilian B. 1964) for Paisagem canibal, which realised $602,500. The work is a striking visual metaphor, exploring the colonial history that continues to exist in the present.


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