Monday, January 5, 2009

Latino artwork sells for 7.2 million

Arts and Entertainment by Antonio Mejias Rentas
Hispanic Link

RECORD BREAKER: A rare work by Mexican master Rufino Tamayo that was at the center of a recent legal battle has sold at auction for the highest amount ever paid for a Latin American painting. Trovador sold for $7.2 million this month at New York’s Christie’s auction house. The 1945 painting of a musician with his guitar was sold by Virginia’s Randolph College at more than double the expected price. The painting had been donated to the school.

Last November opponents got an injunction to block the sale, but dropped the case to focus on a court challenge to the former women’s school’s 2006 decision to go coed.

The iconic, colorful canvas, not seen at auction for 40 years, went to an anonymous buyer.

The previous highest price for a Tamayo was $2.59 million. The previous record for a Latin American painting belonged to Frida Kahlo’s Raíces, which sold in 2006 for $5.6 million.

Several records for Latin American art were broken at two major New York auction houses, including a second Tamayo, Comedor de sandías, sold at Sotheby’s for $3.6 million.

Both Christie’s and Sotheby’s reported their highest-ever totals for one-evening sales of Latin American art, signaling a healthy, growing market in the category.

Christie’s reported two-day take of $33.9 million also included works by Alfredo Ramos Martínez ($2.2 million) and Claudio Bravo ($1.3 million) among its top-ten sellers. Across town, Sotheby’s one-night sale of $21 million included a record for a work by Joaquín Torres-García, which sold for $1.7 million.

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