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Mexican surrealists top Latin American auction, Botero sets record

Mexican surrealists top Latin American auction, Botero sets record

Posted by Juan Gavasa on November 25, 2014

Varo's 1960 "Hacia la Torre," (Towards the Tower) fetched $4.31 million and Carrington's 1945 "The Temptation of Saint Anthony" sold for $2.63 million on Monday evening at Sotheby's.

"There was more interest in them because the bidders were interested in Surrealism as a field; they didn't care where the artist was from," said Axel Stein, Sotheby's Latin American art chief, noting that bids came from the Western Hemisphere and Europe. At Christie's, Botero's "Adam and Eve," a bronze sculpture of a corpulent and nude man and a woman, fetched $2.57 million. The sculptures, coated in a dark brown patina, stand nearly 3.6 meters (12 feet) tall.

The works in the Sotheby's auction came from the collection of Mexican tycoon Lorenzo Zambrano, who led global cement company Cemex until his death in May at age 70. In total, Sotheby's sale totaled $17.6 million. Christie's auction, also on Monday evening, fetched $20.18 million.

Both the Varos and Carrington works set records for the artists. Varos' "Hacia La Torre" evokes her days in a convent school in her native Spain, Stein said.

ROBED SCHOOLGIRLS

It depicts six elongated robed schoolgirls, with apprehensive looks, exiting a 12-tower building. A circle of swooping black birds guard them, preventing their escape, according to the artist.

The work by the English-born Carrington portrays three faces of a frail bearded St. Anthony, enveloped in a torn dirty white canopy, his feet at the edge of a turbulent azure river, which pours out of an earthenware jug.

The Christie's sale also set an artist auction record for Uruguayan Juan Manuel Blanes, whose "Aurora," painted about 1879-1885, which went for $905,000.

At Sotheby's, other auction records were set for Mexican Angel Zarraga, whose "Futbolistas en el Llano," (Soccer players on the Plains), went for $929,000 and for Cuban-born Tomas Sanchez, whose "Meditador y Laguna Escondida en el Bosque" (Meditator and Hidden Lagoon in the Forest) fetched $653,000. Nicaraguan Armando Morales' "Selva Tropical" (Tropical Jungle) sold for $521,000 and Mexican Rodolo Nieto's "La Raison du plus Fort" (The Reason of the Strongest) fetched $497,000, also setting records.

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