News-Antique.com - Jun 12,2008 - SOTHEBY’S NEW YORK TWO-DAY SALE OF
LATIN AMERICAN ART ACHIEVES $28,141,600
HIGHEST TOTAL EVER FOR A LATIN
AMERICAN ART SALE AT SOTHEBY’S
BREAKING 25 RECORDS AT AUCTION
New York, New York, May 30, 2008 – Following last night’s sale of Latin American Art, which set a
record for an evening sale of Latin American Art, bringing $21,033,500 (est. $13,945,000/17,945,000*),
today’s morning session earned an additional $5,813,500, bringing the grand total for the two-day sale to
$28,141,600 (est. $18,791,000 / 24,528,000), well above pre-sale expectations and the highest total ever for
a sale of Latin American Art at Sotheby’s1. Additionally, nineteen artist records at auction were set and six
records for a medium by the artist were achieved (please find full details in attached Records Sheet).
Carmen Melián, Head of the Latin American Art department, said, “This sale consistently brought strong
results for sellers. The evening sale had the highest sold rate of any auction house in many years, 88.3%
sold by lot and 90.5% sold by value. It is a great pleasure to once again break auction records for Joaquín
Torres-García and Matta.”
This sale included the most important selection of paintings by Rufino Tamayo to appear on the market in
several years. Tamayo’s El comedor de sandías (The Watermelon Eater), dated 1949, fetched
$3,625,000 (lot 13, est. $2/2.2 million), selling to applause after several minutes of bidding to a buyer on
the phone. This is the second highest price ever achieved for a work by Tamayo at auction. Also from the
1940s is El Constructor (The Builder), which brought 965,000 (lot 10, est. $700/900,000). Rarely seen
works from the 1920s by Tamayo include Relojes (Clocks), 1929, which sold for $685,000 (lot 22, est.
1 The previous record was for the sale of Latin American Art in the Spring of 2006, which achieved $23,001,200.
$325/375,000), and Naturaleza muerta (Still Life), 1924, which brought $505,000 (lot 4, est.
$275/325,000), both excellent examples of Tamayo’s early interest in metaphysical surrealism. A later work
by Tamayo is Matrimonial Portrait, 1959, which fetched $553,000 (lot 59, est. $300/350,000) and was
sold to benefit the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) in California.
A record-setting price of $1,721,000 (lot 21, est. $1.1/1.4 million) was achieved for Joaquín Torres-
García’s Constructif Mysterieux (Mysterious Construction). Two very rare early works by Torres-
García also brought strong prices: Ritmo de ciudad (Rhythm of the City), lot 16, 1918, sold for
$373,000; and Paisaje Urbano, Barcelona (Cityscape, Barcelona), lot 15, 1918, sold for $301,000 (est.
Personnage, 1963, by the Cuban painter Wifredo Lam sold for $713,000 (lot 28, est. $600/800,000).
Other works which were highly sought after in the sale include Matta’s Ardeur de L’Eau, which garnered
bids from at least five clients in the room and two on the phone, finally selling to applause for $601,000
(lot 29, est. $150/200,000), more than three times the high estimate. Also by Matta, Untitled No. 9, a
crayon and graphite work on paper from 1942, brought $301,000 (lot