Latin American Art Modern & Contemporary auction at Sotheby's New York from May 26-27 was the second Latin American art auction in the row that didn't go as well as was expected - just to remind you, Latin America auction at Phillips from May 26 had, let's put it that way, a very modest success. The auction at Sotheby's did a bit better - almost 70 percent of lots were sold, and pretty close to the sum of high estimates. Two lots were sold for seven-figure prices, and Rufino Tamayo's La Familia had the highest hammer price at $2,500,000 (it was estimated at $1,200,000 - $1,600,000).
Tamayo painted his La Familia when he was 88 years young. At the end of his 60-year career, and closing to the end of his rich life, Tamayo turned to motifs of his youth, depicting a subject from his past. At the same year he executed La Familia, Tamayo spoke in an interview of importance of family life, especially if one didn't have much affection and warmth in his childhood, as was the case with Tamayo. His La Familia oozes with warmth and lightheartedness, which stands in a complete contrast with another version of La Familia - the one he painted in 1936. In this version, members of family are distant, cold, lonely and emotionally isolated - completely different from the luminous atmosphere of La Familia from 1987.
Out of 165 lots that were auctioned at Sotheby's on Tuesday and Wednesday, 114 were sold (69.1 percent) for total of $10.66 million - prior to the auction, these 165 lots were estimated at $12,180,000 - $16,960,000, and those 114 that were sold were estimated at $8,404,000 - $11,706,000. As we said, Rufino Tamayo's La Familia had the highest hammer price, $2.5 million, and the only other lot that was sold for a seven figure price was Wifredo Lam's Les Oiseaux Voilés that was sold for $1,000,000, its low estimate. The average hammer price of a sold lot was $93,515, and median hammer price was $40,000. Most lots were sold in range of estimated values, 48 (42.1 percent of sold lots), 34 lots were sold over high estimate (29.8 percent) and 32 lots were sold under low estimate (28.2 percent).
Five lots were sold with 100+ percent between hammer price and high estimate, with Jorge Eduardo Eielson's Quipus 38 14 leading the way with +233.3 percent. Alexandre Arrechea's Punching Bags Dust (Havana), Dust (Los Angeles), Dust (New York) was sold with +171.4 percent difference. On the other hand, Carlos Capelán with his Untitled work and Jorge Camacho with La Nuit Remue had two worst results, as their artworks were sold with around -68 percent difference between their respective hammer prices and low estimates.