During this time, Lam’s own work began to veer from strictly academic portraits and landscapes to lush, Symbolist-influenced works like Baño de sol (Sunbathing). Synthesizing the techniques of the masters with the work of Spanish Symbolists like Néstor, Lam reveled in rich patterning and luxuriant colors in these rare early paintings. Here, a softly smiling nude figure in a vibrant garden rests on an opulently embroidered garment as a couple in seventeenth-century Dutch dress serenade and fan her. Only about four paintings from this period remain extant, as Lam’s extreme poverty and high standards for his work led him to lose, sell cheaply or burn most of his early paintings. Sotheby’s is honored to present Baño de sol, which emerges for the first time since the mid-twentieth century from a collection closely connected to the artist himself.
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