Portinari tops Christie’s Latin American art sale

NEW YORK: A dreamlike painting of children releasing kites by Brazilian Candido Portinari sold for $1.4 million at Christie’s Latin American art sale and set a world record for the artist.

Portinari’s 1941 Meninos Soltando Pipas was the top seller of the Wednesday night sale, which totaled $16 million and set benchmarks for other Latin American artists. “The strength of the Brazilian market reigned supreme,” said Virgilio Garza, head of Latin American art at Christie.

Portinari, who died in 1962, left a prolific legacy, including monumental murals for the United States Library of Congress and United Nations headquarters in New York.

Another bestseller was Colombian Fernando Botero’s 2000 Bronze Dancers, which grossed $1.14 million. The work, covered in brown patina, shows a heavily muscled naked man and a woman, her left hand on her right shoulder.

Mujeres con Frutas (Women with Fruit) by Mexican Alfredo Ramos Martinez, a portrait of two young Mexican Indian women, sold for $1.07 million.

Ramos Martinez created the piece shortly after moving to Los Angeles in the late 1920s to seek expert medical care for his daughter. Hollywood luminaries of the time collected his work.

Art experts had high hopes for sales of Latin American art amid a buoyant market, sparked by a record sale of contemporary art earlier this month.


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