Monday, May 9, 2016
Christie's Latin American Art , 25 May 2016: Rufino Tamayo, Diego Rivera, Fernando Botero, Wifredo Lam
Leading the Latin American Art Evening Sale on Wednesday, 25 May 2016 is the impressive
Rufino Tamayo (1899-1991), Maestros cantores, executed in 1949 (estimate: $2,000,000-3,000,000).
Maestros cantores vibrantly plays on a theme that preoccupied the artist throughout his career. Three street singers stand before us with mouths agape as if caught in the midst of open song. The central figure stands authoritatively in the foreground holding a mandolin, with fingers splayed unnaturally across the front, emphasizing the act and skill of playing the instrument. Two singers peer out from behind him on both sides in a staggered fashion, creating a dynamic zigzag effect that animates the composition. Tamayo concentrates on all three of the singers’ expressive faces, capturing the emotive essence of music. Bright hues of pink, purple, blue, and green throughout increase the sense of impassioned performance.
Tamayo often used music as one among many elements that make reference to the senses. Instruments and song provided the means to visualize sound and touch (the strings of the mandolin). Music also served as a cipher for the painter’s practice, a trope found in much modernist painting, most famously in Picasso’s takes on the subject. An abstract artistic language, music embodies the pursuit of non-literal representation.
Music also held special personal significance to Tamayo. He met his wife Olga, an accomplished concert pianist, while painting the mural at the National School of Music where she was a student, and Tamayo himself was also a gifted musician known for his guitar playing.
Since the date of its creation in 1949, this work has been exhibited internationally at major museums and institutions from Mexico City to Paris, Stockholm, London and Tokyo.
Diego Rivera's (1886-1957), Niña con rebozo, painted in 1938, comes from The Private Art Collection of Marta and Plácido Domingo (estimate: $1,000,000-1,500,000), which depicts one of the most decisive artistic phases of his professional trajectory. Upon Rivera’s return to Mexico in 1921, his view turned toward the creation of a new identity, elevating the contemporary local people in a vision for a modern Mexico. For the great muralist, children were the seeds for change. He lovingly recorded them in drawings and watercolors, and on exceptional occasions, on splendid canvases full of light and color as seen in the present work, which portrays a young girl caught in reflection.
Other highlights include Wifredo Lam’s (1902-1982), Le Sabbat (Immagine No. 5), painted in 1964 (estimate: $600,000-800,000) from The Collection of Guglielmo Spotorno,
Rufino Tamayo’s (1899-1991), Man in a Landscape, painted in 1961 (estimate: $500,000-700,000),
and from The Estate of Rocío Sagaón
Miguel Covarrubias’s (1904-1957), Desnudo, (estimate: $400,000-600,000).
The sale also presents a large selection of paintings and sculpture by Fernando Botero (B. 1932), featuring five circus-themed works from The Wynn Las Vegas Collection. Highlights include his monumental sculpture Seated Woman, conceived in 2002 and cast in 2004 (estimate: $700,000-900,000) and large-scale paintings
Tiger and Trainer, painted in 2007 (estimate: $700,000-900,000),
and Clown in his Trailer, painted in 2007 (estimate: $500,000-700,000).
This collection of works previously adorned the Las Vegas restaurant named after the artist—Botero—with the sculpture of the Seated Woman acting as the interior’s centerpiece.
Featured contemporary works include two exceptional landscapes by Tomás Sánchez (b. 1948), from The Brazil Golden Art Collection a monumental painting from Brazilian artist Luiz Zerbini (b. 1959), The Railway Surfer and the Ghost Train, painted in Rio de Janeiro in 1990 (estimate: $150,000-200,000), and an installation piece by Jesús Rafael Soto (1923-2005), Cuadrado amarillo y vibración, executed in 1988 (estimate: $150,000-200,000).