“The Bird Charmer” by Rufino Tamayo was sole for $4.3 million on Thursday at Sotheby’s Latin American art auction in New York.
The 60 1/4 by 50 1/4 in. (153 x 128 cm) oil on board was sole a day after another considerable work by the Mexican artist, “Músicos,” didn’t find a customer at Christie’s.
The piece shows the reddish figure of a man against a blue wall, personification a breeze instrument while birds fly about.
“It’s a pretentious portrayal from Tamayo’s many critical period,” Axel Stein, conduct of Sotheby’s Latin American Art department, told The Associated Press. “Although the stately work was embellished during the dim times of 1945, the Pre-Colombian imagery and lyrical, confident combination pronounce to the artist’s wish for the future.”
The record for a Tamayo sole at auction is $7.2 million, reached in 2008 with “Trovador.”
Also on Thursday, Diego Rivera’s “Portrait of Senorita Matilde Palou” sole for $2.4 million, within the estimate. Sotheby’s had hailed the 1951 portrayal as one of the many critical pieces by the Mexican muralist to go to auction in new years.
The 80 x 48 1/8 in. (203 x 122.3 cm) oil on board depicts Matilde Palou, a Chilean thespian and thespian who gained celebrity in Mexican cinema, recumbent against what looks like a fireplace. She wears a glowing dress covered in Mexican imagery, including flags, a cloak of arms and Mexican jewelry.
Last March, Sotheby’s showed it to the open at its Los Angeles galleries for the first time given 1988, when it sole it for $203,000.
“The portrayal is a smashing instance of the artist at the tallness of his powers and a stately pitch of Mexican inhabitant pride,” Stein told the AP in March. “It is positively one of the many critical works by the artist to seem at auction in new memory.”
The auction record for Rivera is $3,082,500, set in 1995 with the portrayal “Baile en Tehuantepec” (1928), also at Sotheby’s.
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