With Wifredo Lam and Tomás Sánchez leading the pack as usual, a number of Cuban artists made a strong showing in an auction week dominated by the sale of the Lorenzo H. Zambrano collection.
The sale week opened at Phillips, where contemporary Cuban artists were well represented—among them Carlos Garaicoa and Carlos Estévez, both of whom turned in solid results: Garaicoa’s Untitled (P-37) at $30,000 against an estimate of $25-$35,000 and Estévez’s Entropía del porvenir coming in just above its high estimate at $12,500. (All prices include buyer’s premium.) La Patera (The Raft), a print by Armando Mariño, delivered $6,875, more than double its low estimate of $3,000.
The numbers rose considerably at Christie’s the next evening, where Wifredo Lam’s Untitled (Personnage avec oiseau) blew past its high estimate of $450,000 to reach $581,000. A second Lam, Le nid fasciné, was even more impressive, bringing $629,000 against a high estimate of $350,000. Other Lams also surpassed their high estimates, including an untitled work (Lot 38), which earned $389,000 against a high of $350,000, and Composition pour un matin, delivering $293,000 against a high estimate of $180,000.
El Hurón Azúl, the 1953 canvas by Carlos Enríquez that has been off the market since 1960, also surpassed its high estimate, reaching $353,000 against a high of $300,000. Untitled (Olimpia), a gouache on paper by Amelia Peláez, realized $47,500 against a high estimate of $40,000. Two works by Tomás Sánchez, Caer de agua, contemplador y luz and Tormenta del meditador, surpassed their high estimates at $87,500 and $93,750 respectively.
Continuing the next day, the Christie’s sale yielded additional high results. Two lots by Manuel Mendive, the bronze Aguas del río and the oil painting Sijú platanero (Pygmy Owl), more than doubled their low estimates, turning in $52,500 and $50,000 respectively. An untitled canvas by René Portocarrero, estimated at $35-$45,000, reached a lofty $81,250.
Cuban artists also featured in the sales at Sotheby’s. The most impressive results came from the single-collector sale of works amassed by the late Mexican mogul Lorenzo H. Zambrano—notably the $653,000 earned by Tomás Sánchez’s Meditador y laguna escondida en el bosque, which easily pulled past its high estimate of $600,000. The remainder of Sotheby’s Latin American sale was notable for Sandú Darié’s Triángulos blanco y negro, which more than doubled its high estimate of $40,000 at $87,500, and Zilia Sánchez’s Topología erotica (From the series Las Amazonas), which raced past a high estimate of $35,000 to hit $59,375.