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Art market: record total for a Latin American sale


The Greek art market appears to have taken a bashing as the country continues to wrestle with economic tragedy. A Greek art sale at Sotheby’s this month saw less than half the lots sell, making just £2.4 million when between £4.6 million and £7 million had been expected.

Bonhams did little better, with a £1.8 million sale in which nearly half of the lots found no buyers. There was also a baptism of fire at Bonhams’ first sale devoted to Israeli art in London, in which 111 out of 182 lots were unsold, including most of the highest-estimated lots.


Organisers of PINTA, the Latin American art fair which opens at Earls Court on Monday 6 June, looks like an event worth watching. Last year, London’s Lisson Gallery discovered octogenarian painter Carmen Herrera at the fair and have since launched her on to the international market.

Of all the artists born since 1985 bought by Tate Modern, one quarter are from Latin America. The world’s richest man, Carlos Slim, is a big supporter, and Sotheby’s achieved a record total for a Latin American art sale last week, in which Colombian Fernando Botero saw a record $1.2 million (£727,000) paid for a bronze sculpture of a man on a horse (pictured).

One very good reason for Frieze to launch a new art fair in October with a focus on 20th-century modern, as opposed to contemporary, art is the success of FIAC, the Paris fair which is also in October. FIAC embraces both modern and contemporary art, and has succeeded in attracting international dealers who might see it as an alternative to Frieze. Among this year’s new exhibitors at FIAC are New York galleries Matthew Marks and Pace and London galleries White Cube and Sadie Coles – all regulars at Frieze, too.

A rare work of art by the Spanish Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí surfaced for sale in Paris last week. Gaudí is well known for his buildings, for which he would design all the interior furnishings, but there are few objects available for sale. A lot of his designed furniture was destroyed during the Spanish Civil War, and now only about 100 examples are known in private and public collections.

Sotheby’s in Paris, however, offered a wrought-iron bench with a carved wooden seat and back, made for a church outside Barcelona at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. Estimated at 150,000 euros, it sold for a record 384,750 euros (£336,000).

A record £157,250 was paid last week at Christie’s for a bronze cast of a seated woman by Henri Gaudier-Brzeska. The bronze is cast from a marble carving made by Gaudier in 1914, just before he died fighting on the Western Front. The cast was authorised by the founder of Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge, Jim Ede, who handled Gaudier’s estate. But quite when, no one is sure. “We are waiting for Kettle’s Yard to sort out their archives,” said Christie’s. CG

The Telegraph

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