137
137
Olga de Amaral
CESTA LUNAR 50A
Estimate
280,000380,000
LOT SOLD. 555,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT
137
Olga de Amaral
CESTA LUNAR 50A
Estimate
280,000380,000
LOT SOLD. 555,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Contemporary Art Day Auction

|
New York

Olga de Amaral
B. 1932
CESTA LUNAR 50A
signed, titled and dated 1991 on a label affixed to the reverse
gold leaf, gesso and acrylic on linen
139 3/4 by 87 in. 355 by 221 cm.
Executed in 1991.
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Provenance

Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner

Catalogue Note

Cesta lunar 50A is emblematic of the mythical character and historical resonance held within the sculptural weavings of Columbian-born artist Olga de Amaral. An achievement of indisputable technical mastery executed during one of Amaral’s most significant periods of production, Cesta lunar 50A is representative of the foundational sources that inform her oeuvre: a synthesis of pre-Hispanic weaving traditions, the varied topography of South America’s landscape and modernist architectural principles.

Two key events during the formative stages of Amaral’s artistic development influenced the trajectory of her singular aesthetic vocabulary. Her decision to move to the United States at the age of twenty-one, after having briefly served as the Director of the Architectural Drawing School of Bogotá’s Colegio Mayor de Cundinamarca (her alma mater), would mark the fateful introduction with her ultimate chosen media of textiles. Moving first to New York in 1954 to attend Columbia University and then to Bloomfield Hills, Michigan to study at the Cranbrook Academy of Arts, Amaral “began to relate to weaving” and its boundless possibilities of texture, structure and chromatic tones. (Juan Carlos Moyano Ortiz, “A Closer Look at the Life and Work of Olga de Amaral”, in Olga de Amaral: The Mantle of Memory, Paris, 2013, p. 31) Later on, while her eventual return to her native Colombia allowed her to explore anew its vast landscape, indigenous and colonial architecture and ancient weaving traditions, it was Amaral’s  first visit to Peru in 1968 that served as the “most striking encounter of her life”. (ibid, p. 50) Not only was she “overwhelmed by the ancestral intelligence—the high mathematics—present in everything textile in ancient Andean culture [,] the trip to Peru gave Amaral many things to consider beyond textiles.”(ibid, p. 50) Here she encountered advanced architectural processes of structural organization found in Andean building technique: a delicate tension of varying geometric design and limitless vertical planes that achieve a harmonious symmetry. Peru allowed Amaral to intensely explore complex applications of gold leaf, the ancient precious metal utilized in tandem by the dichotomous colonial and indigenous cultures to create theatrically heightened evocations of power, divinity and the sacred.

Here technical innovation and uninhibited experimentation magnificently unfold in a three-dimensional field of chromatic variation and gestural application—an achievement of complete artistic expression that could otherwise not be fully realized via traditional easel-painting.  Imposing in scale, Cesta Lunar 50A, is a showcase of Amaral’s fully realized aesthetic lexicon. A vortex of linen has been rigorously and carefully manipulated into a complex, intricate grid of elegant latticework laden with gold leaf and undulating planes of earth-hued reds. This chromatic spectrum of golds, reds, blues, and purples commands our eyes to span the work, striking us simultaneously with a slowly cresting dawn and a melting, alchemic dusk.

Born with a sculptural intention, Cesta lunar 50A, lives as an independent architectural structure. Installed separate from the wall, the work takes on the life of a sacred, otherworldly construction, commanding an intimate and sensual silence from the viewer—a monument of sorts that harkens the grid-composed works of Joaquín Torres-García, the lauded father of Universal Constructivism. More importantly, the underlying ethos of Amaral’s sculptural weavings reveals itself: a lifelong examination of textile at the intersection of Latin American Abstraction and the greater cannon of Post-War Contemporary Art. In a dutiful exploration of dimensional space via color, texture and material, the work “exhibits the same capacity for creating the perception of infinite space found in the works of modernist [artists] of the last century,” from Ad Reinhardt and Mark Rothko to Jesús Rafael Soto and Carlos Cruz-Diez and forges “a relationship with the scale of the viewer through an understanding of how both art and the body function in space.” (Matthew Drutt, “Colombian Gold: Olga de Amaral spins ore into art,” Modern Painters, October 2013, p. 80)

Olga de Amaral’s resume is stunning in scope and depth. She has held teaching positions at the Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina, the Kaystack Mountain School of Crafts in Maine, and serves as Honorary Chair of the Art Department at UCLA of Los Angeles. Her works have been included in over seven-dozen solo and group exhibitions worldwide and can be found in the permanent collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), The Museum of Modern Art (New York), The Art Institute of Chicago, Museo de Arte Moderno (Bogotá), the Museé Bellerive (Zurich), and the Denver Art Museum, among others.

“From the beginning of her career in the 1960s, Amaral has made it clear that the debate over whether weaving was art or craft would be, in her case at least, moot. From the onset, there has been a distinct sense in her work that it could, [and does], embody important ideas and reflections of an existential and historical character.” (Ricardo Pau-Llosa, “The Eye’s Music: An Approach to the Art of Olga de Amaral” in Olga de Amaral: The Mantle of Memory, Paris, 2013, p. 90)

Contemporary Art Day Auction

|
New York