Post-War and Contemporary Latin American artists


Every fortnight Artprice posts a new or updated ranking in its Alternate-Friday Top Series. The theme of today’s TOP article is the ten best auction results for Post-War and Contemporary Latin American artists during 2010.

The first sale dedicated to Latin American art took place in New York on 17 October 1979 at Sotheby’s. This year the same auctioneer organised three sales dedicated to LatAm art, the last of which (on 16 – 17 November 2010) generated a revenue total of $11.94m. That was substantially short of the 2008 totals: Sotheby’s Latin American Art sales in May of that year generated $22.9m and then $16.8m later in November.

Top 10 : Latin American Artists (Post-War & Contemporary) in 2010

Rank Artist Hammer Price Artwork Sale
1 Felix GONZALEZ-TORRES $4 000 000 Untitled (Portrait of Marcel Brient) 11/08/2010 (Phillips de Pury & Co NY)
2 Fernando BOTERO $1 450 000 Family Scene (1985) 11/17/2010 (Christie’s NY)
3 Felix GONZALEZ-TORRES $950 000 Untitled (Welcome) (1991) 11/08/2010 (Phillips de Pury & Co NY)
4 Fernando BOTERO $870 000 Woman on a Horse (2002) 05/26/2010 (Christie’s NY)
5 Fernando BOTERO $725 000 « Nuestra Señora de Cajicá » 11/16/2010 (Sotheby’s NY)
6 Fernando BOTERO $700 000 Seated Woman (2002) 11/17/2010 (Christie’s NY)
7 Sergio DE CAMARGO $700 000 « Relief no. 161-4 » (1964) 09/29/2010 (Phillips de Pury & Co NY)
8 Beatriz MILHAZES $678195 « Moreno » (2005) 06/30/2010 (Christie’s LONDON)
9 Jesús Rafael SOTO $630 000 « Un trou sur l’orange » (1970) 05/26/2010 (Christie’s NY)
10 Alejandro OTERO $625 000 « Coloritmo 9 » 11/16/2010 (Sotheby’s NY)

$3.745m for Fernando Botero (4 places)
At the Latin american sale of 17 November organised by Christie’s, Fernando BOTERO scored his best result of the year 2010 and the sale’s best result with Family Scene (1985) which went under the hammer for $1,450,000, the only 7-figure result of the sale. At the same sale – which generated a $15,45m with an unsold rate of 27.4% – a sculpture by the artist entitled Seated Woman (2002) fetched $700,000 (6th place in this ranking).
Sotheby’s $11.94m total from its most recent sale of Latin American art on 16 and 17 November 2010 (nearly 70% of lots sold) was generously assisted by the Cuban artist Wifredo LAM (1902-1982) who scored a new personal record of $1.850m for his Les Les Abalochas Dansent Pour Dhambala, Dieu de L’Unité. Behind him the Colombian Botero (Nuestra Senora de Cajicà, $725,000) and the Venezuelan Alejandro OTERO (Coloritmo 9,$625,000); Otero’s Coloritmo painting used to fetch between 20 and 50 thousand dollars in the 1990s.
Botero was also a star of the 26 May 2010 Latin American sale at Christie’s where his Woman on a Horse (2002) – a bronze sculpture reflecting the characteristic lines of his drawings – generated the third best result of the sale at $870,000. At the same sale, Un trou sur l’orange, a kinetic work by the Venezuelan artist Jesús Rafael SOTO fetched $630,000, taking 9th place in this ranking.

One Cuban and two Brazilians
Felix GONZALEZ-TORRES takes first and third place in the ranking with two installations that sold at Phillips de Pury’s inaugural Carte blanche – Philippe Ségalot sale on 8 November 2010 at their new New York auction room: his Untitled (Portrait of Marcel Brient) fetched $4m, a new record for the artist, and his Untitled (Welcome) sold for $950,000 against a low estimate of $1m.
The rarefaction of works by the Cuban artist on the auction market (only 13 lots presented since January 2010) provided a degree of price support .
Sergio DE CAMARGO generated the best score of the 29 September sale (Latin America) at Phillips de Pury for his Relief no.161-4 which fetched $700,000 (the sculpture generated nearly 40% of the sale’s total revenue of $1.7m from 137 lots out of 309 presented).
The only result in this ranking generated at a general Post-War & Contemporary Art sale was that for a Moreno acrylic by the Brazilian artist Beatriz MILHAZES which fetched £450,000 ($678,195) at Christie’s in London on 30 June 2010.