Photo: Works by Diego Rivera, Fernando Botero Lead Christie's Upcoming Latin American Sale
Christie’s Latin American Sale will take place on November 20 at 7:00 p.m. and November 21, at 10:00 a.m. This two-session sale of 300 lots total is led by significant works from some of the region’s best- known artists spanning colonial art to the present. The Evening Sale features 80 of the sale’s most important works, with an exceptional line-up of paintings and sculpture from celebrated Brazilian and Mexican artists, amongst many others. The following Day Sale presents over 200 additional works of art from the Spanish colonial era to the present. The combined sales are expected to realize in excess of $20 million.
Madre con hijos by Diego Rivera, painted in 1926, (estimate: $500,000-800,000) reflects the artist’s interest in depicting Mexico’s indigenous people. Rivera spent the years of the Mexican Revolution abroad, returning only in 1921 to participate in a national program of mural painting. He found inspiration in the region’s indigenous culture as this painting’s subject matter reflects—a mother with her young children—poignant and enduring symbols of national identity and strong familial ties.
One of the most provocative and beautiful portraits ever painted by Diego Rivera is Portrait of Linda Christian, painted in 1947, (estimate: $250,000-350,000), and virtually unknown to the general public and scholars alike until now. Featured on the cover of her 1962 autobiography, Linda My Own Story, the painting demonstrates Rivera’s skills as a portraitist, expressing his brilliant use of light and color as well as his astute use of allegorical references. Rivera met actress Linda Christian in the 1940s and painted her at least twice in two portraits that survive to this day. In the present painting, the actress appears radiant and sensuous, while the playful hummingbirds explore the inner hollows of the orchids and tulips suggesting an erotically charged metaphor.
Also featured in the sale is Fernando Botero’s Nun Eating an Apple, a 1981 painting which exemplifies the artist’s humor and wit. In this painting, Botero presents a whimsical representation of Original Sin, (pictured page 1; estimate: $500,000-700,000), through a portly nun that glances to the side as though just having been caught in a devious act. With a Bible in her left hand and the forbidden fruit in her right, she holds the forces of good and evil. Here evil seems to be winning out as the newly eaten apple remains slightly raised above the book.
Christie’s will also offer several important works by some of today’s most prominent Brazilian modern and contemporary artists, including Candido Portinari, Iberê Camargo, and Sergio Camargo.
The legacy of Brazil’s concretist and neo-concretist tradition along with a younger generation of contemporary artists is equally well represented in the November sale and includes outstanding works by Cildo Meireles, Adriana Varejão, Vik Muniz, Ernesto Neto, Mira Schendel, Jose Resende, Leda Catunda, and Daniel Senise.