Lot 199
  • 199

Claudio Bravo

200,000 - 250,000 USD
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  • Claudio Bravo
  • i. Prisma 13 ii. Prisma 4 iii. Prisma 9 [Three Works] 
  • each signed and dated MMIX
  • oil on canvas
  • each: 18 by 14 7/8 in. 45.7 by 37.8 cm.


Marlborough Gallery, New York 
Acquired from the above by the present owner 


Each of these works is in very good condition overall. The canvases are unlined and well-stretched; the colors are vibrant, and the media layer of each work is stable. There is evidence of light handling and wear along the extreme edges of each work, including a fine line of craquelure at the upper left pull margin of Prisma 4, and minor pinpoint spots of pigment loss along the extreme edges of each canvas. A spot of pigment loss measuring approximately ¼ inch in diameter is present in the upper right edge of Prisma 13, in the black field surrounding the package. Two faint horizontal scuff marks measuring less than one inch each in length are present in the lower right quadrant of Prisma 13, approximately three and five inches to the right of the central string respectively. Under ultraviolet light examination, a varnish becomes apparent on each of the three works, and there is no evidence of restoration. Framed.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.

Catalogue Note

"My art has nothing to do with my heritage. I am very connected to the European past--to ancient art, to Renaissance art. Even when I do a painting of a contemporary scene, as in my New York pictures, its roots are in Italian art of the 15th century." Claudio Bravo 

Claudio Bravo's exquisitely rendered Prisma 13, Prisma 4, and Prisma 9 exude a technical virtuosity unrivaled in Latin American painting. Synthesizing classical and post-modernist concerns ranging from the Spanish Baroque tradition to color-field theory, the present works belong to Bravo’s widely recognized signature series: Packages (Paquetes). First executed in the 1960s, the Package series emanate an aura of mysticism transcending mundane materials into a perfectly accomplished trompe-l'oeil reality.

Although often described as hyper-realist painting, Bravo's work shares little with the kind of sharp-focus, quasi-photographic painting usually associated with that label. Unlike American photorealists who aimed to depict the world as they found it, Bravo rooted his compositions in a rich art-historical tradition that lent depth and mystery to his work. Bravo himself has often noted that his inspiration for the series lay in the abstract paintings of Antoni Tàpies and Mark Rothko. “I think that I was originally inspired to do these pictures after looking at some works by Tàpies, whom I greatly admired. He’d done paintings with string that resembled wrapped objects. Rothko’s work was also instrumental, but in a more indirect way” (Edward J. Sullivan, Claudio Bravo, New York 1995, p. 62). Yet even acknowledging these non-figurative origins, it is Bravo's gift for displaying the tactile qualities of paper and his superb treatment of light that capture our attention. The artist acknowledges as much. “The objects I paint transcend and magnify reality. I use light somewhat in the way Francisco de Zurbarán did. He was one of the few painters that gave true transcendent meanings to objects. This treatment of light makes them appear more as they are. Their essence is greater.”(Edward J. Sullivan, Claudio Bravo, New York 1995, p. 36).

Embodying a technical mastery that continues to distinguish him as one of Latin America’s most accomplished twentieth century artists, the present works – conspicuously painted in primary yellow, blue, and red –assert Bravo’s commitment to modernist ideals of absolute color, purity and universal harmony.