Guide to Collecting: Latin American Art Online

Launch Slideshow

Featuring 88 lots offered across two dedicated online auctions, collecting the biggest names in Latin American Art has never been easier. Titans of the Modern period like Claudio Bravo, Wilfredo Lam, Fernando Botero and many more can be found at accessible price points, alongside some of the hottest names of the Contemporary period including Joaquín Torres-García, Gabriel Orozco, Gego, Carlos Cruz-Diez and Vik Muniz. Click ahead to see some of the great works available across both sales.

Latin America: Contemporary Art Online
2-26 May 2017

Latin America: Modern Art Online 
2-26 May 2017 

Guide to Collecting: Latin American Art Online

  • Gabriel Orozco. Untitled, 1962. Estimate $12,000–18,000.
    Gabriel Orozco’s artistic practice has always been characterized by experimentation and curiosity: while perhaps best-known for his graphic, abstract paintings in oil and gold leaf, his vast body of work also includes works on paper, photography, multi-media installations, sculpture, and video. In this early work on paper from 1993 Orozco uses a mix of traditional and everyday materials – ink, toothpaste spit, and scotch tape - to create a collage of pastel blues and white that alludes to greater cosmic associations. This work is part of a larger series from the 1990s in which Orozco juxtaposed high- and low-brow materials to explore what would become one of the central themes of his career: the relationship between people and our modern environment. Works from this critical series have been featured in his recent retrospectives and been subsequently acquired by several important global institutions, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Tate Modern, London; and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.

  • Carlos Garaicoa. Y si esta agua llegara a tocarme alguna vez, 1967. Estimate $6,000–8,000.
    Carlos Garaicoa is one of the foremost living contemporary Cuban artists, with a diverse body of work ranging from the large-scale installations for which he is best-known to drawing, printmaking, video, and performance. Garaicoa was originally trained in thermodynamics, and worked as a draughtsman during his mandatory military service prior to his career as an artist. His scientific approach to artmaking and fascination with the urban environment were cultivated during this period, and are clearly visible in this early work on paper. In the present lot, Garaicoa explores central themes that can be found throughout his body of work: the tensions between order and the ever-present threat of destruction, between his island nation and the ocean, between the utopian ideal city and the reality of urban decay.

  • Joaquín Torres-García. Construction with Objects, 1874-1949. Estimate $6,000–8,000.
    Widely considered as one of the most significant contributors to 20th Century art and the founder of Universal Constructivism, Joaquín Torres-García’s artistic production transcended the divide between Europe and the Americas. The present drawing dates to a critical year in the artist’s life: 1943, the year he founded the Taller Torres-García in Montevideo. This famed institution functioned both as the artist’s studio and as a collective school of Universal Constructivism, where Torres-García instructed students, including the sculptor Gonzalo Fonseca (see lot 12 in Latin America: Contemporary Art Evening Sale ), in his language of universal symbols. In this drawing, Torres-García depicts a house and a boat, both important symbols found throughout his oeuvre placed within a grid of interlocking yet irregularly-shaped rectangles.

  • Getulio Alviani. Sin título, 1939. Estimate $20,000–30,000.
    One of the leading members of the Optical-Kinetic art movement, Italian-born Getulio Alviani advanced the kinetic theories of visual perception through the interplay of materials and light. Transplanting himself to Milan in 1961, Alviani found himself in the hotbed of a new postwar art scene, interacting with and exhibiting alongside Lucio Fontana (whom he considered a mentor). He later became an active member of ZERO, exhibiting alongside Jesús Rafael Soto, Otto Piene, Heinz Mack, Piero Manzoni, and others at shows such as William C. Seitz’s groundbreaking The Responsive Eye at the Museum of Modern Art in 1965. Alviani’s luminous aluminum structures have come to be his best-recognized works; the present work offers a small yet emblematic example from this series. The reflections of light against the polished, industrial surface of the systematically placed plates achieve a sensorial effect: a weaving and vibrating visual pattern that changes with the movement of the viewer.

  • Manuel Álvarez Bravo. Five Photographs, 1902-2002. Estimate $15,000–20,000.
    While many Surrealists moved to Mexico fleeing the rise of Fascism in Europe in the 1930s, the movement’s artistic impact was felt there by local artists even prior to their arrival with a Surrealist community flourishing in Mexico City as early as 1920. Manuel Alvarez Bravo was one of the most important photographers of this generation of Mexican Surrealists. Active from the 1920s through the 1990s, his work is characterized by the use of inventive photographic techniques, abstraction of the human form, and visual jokes to subvert the distinction between perception and reality. Alvarez Bravo also exploits the documentary quality of photography to distort familiar scenes into ominous, unsettling ones, exploring the boundary between conscious and unconscious observation. This exceptional group of five photographs demonstrates Alvarez Bravo’s accomplished skill across several photographic genres, from composed portraits (“Nieves” and “Ana María”) to the Surrealist-favored technique of photocollage (“El Sistema nervioso del gran simpatico”). Alvarez Bravo is perhaps best known, however, for exploiting the documentary quality of photography to distort familiar scenes into ominous, unsettling ones. In “Trabajadores del fuego” and “Día de los muertos,” two iconic images from his oeuvre, he masterfully explores the boundary between conscious and unconscious observation.

  • Francisco Toledo. Untitled (The Serpent), 1940. Estimate $40,000–60,000.
    Regarded by many as Mexico’s most important living artist, Francisco Toledo is celebrated in Mexico and abroad for his complex, vibrant works on paper, paintings, and ceramics, which deal in subjects ranging from the mystical and fantastic to the humorous and erotic. Born in the town of Juchitán, Oaxaca in 1940, Toledo moved to Paris in his youth, where from 1960-1965 he studied and worked with Surrealist master printmaker Stanley William Hayter at his famed Atelier Contrepoint, producing and exhibiting several editions of graphic work. He returned to Mexico in 1965, emerging as a leading member of La Ruptura, a movement breaking from the Muralist tradition that included Pedro Coronel, Rodolfo Nieto, and many others. Toledo’s inventive works are often populated by animals and mythical characters from the Zapotec legends of his childhood, which he weaves into new and mysterious narratives. He draws formally from diverse influences, from Jean Dubuffet’s use of unconventional media to achieve varied textures, to Rufino Tamayo’s use of vivid color and abstracted organic forms. The present work is an outstanding example of Toledo’s work on paper, the rich, sandy red of the foreground giving way to the soft black of the figures and weaves an ambiguous narrative filled with mystery and life.

  • Mariano Rodríguez. Gallo, 1912-1990. Estimate $20,000–30,000.
    A seminal member of the Cuban Vanguardia movement,Mariano Rodríguez’s talent received early recognition from the global artistic community. His work is unique among his peers for his synthesis of the vivid colors and abstracted forms European modernism and the linear, flattened aesthetics of Mexican muralism. A symbol of strength, pride, and Cuban identity, Rodríguez revisited theme of the rooster frequently throughout his lengthy career, and works from this emblematic series are highly coveted by collectors of his work. In a 1944 essay on Cuban Modernism Alfred H. Barr wrote of Mariano's roosters that they were "brash, brilliant in color, they are among his most confidently painted works." [1] Barr acquired a work from this series for the Museum in 1942, including it in the critical 1944 exhibition Modern Cuban Painters. In this later, larger-than-life example from the same series, Rodríguez’s signature rich, colors and animated brushstrokes bring out the vitality and joy of the rooster.

    [1] Alfred H. Barr, Jr., "Modern Cuban Painters," Museum of Modern Art Bulletin, (April 1944) p. 11

  • Ricardo Martínez. La Segadora, 1918-2009. Estimate $40,000–60,000.
    Ricardo Martínez, born in Mexico City in 1918, was a lifelong trailblazer who followed an artistic sensibility distinct from the dominant artistic movements of the time. His approach of synthesizing the geometric forms and linear sensibility of pre-Columbian sculpture and incandescent, emotive colors like those of Mark Rothko make his paintings instantly recognizable and highly coveted by collectors of Mexican Modernism. Here, an abstracted figure with a mask-like face rises from verdant foliage, enrobed in a luminous green haze that radiates outward from her, blurring the distinction between her body and the environment. Martínez’s mastery of color is evident in full force, as the lush green seems to almost break the boundary of the painting and extend into the viewer’s space. Elegant and timeless, this mythical earth-mother figure enchants the viewer with her mysterious beauty.



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