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Wifredo Lam (Cuban, 1902–1982)
LOT ID: 78245
Untitled (from the Deluxe Edition of the Flight Portfolio), 1967

25.75 х 19.75 in. (65.4 x 50.16 cm.)
Signed, stamped, inscribed, by Wifredo Lam lower right recto (front)
hand numbered by Wifredo Lam in pencil, and inscribed "hors commerce" (from the Deluxe hors commerce edition)
comes in rare original white portfolio sleeve, with artist's name in block letters.
Print/Casting Year 1967
Edition VII/XV
Foundry/Publisher Matthieu, Zurich (printer), International Rescue Committee, USA (Publisher)
Lot description
Special opportunity to acquire this scarce original hand signed and numbered 4 color lithograph on Rives paper by renowned Latin American artist Wifredo Lam.

This work was created in 1967, and was included part of the Deluxe Edition of the historic and legendary 'Flight Portfolio', assembled in 1971 by the International Rescue Committee to raise funds for Holocaust victims. a group that had helped finance Wifredo Lam's ‘flight’ from Paris on the same ship as fellow Surrealists Andre Breton and Andre Masson after the Germans invaded France in 1940. This important print features an apt expression of Lam's diverse sources of inspiration: the ribbed talisman recalls his grandmother’s Voodoo (Santeria) religion from Cuba and the hybrid, arachnid-helicopter and bomb targets reveal Lam’s interest in contemporary world issues such as the spread of Communism, something that held particular significance for Lam because of his Chinese descent.

The 12 artists who participated in this historic project were: Eugene Berman, Alexander Calder, Marc Chagall, Viera da Silva, Adolph Gottileb, Wifredo Lam, Jacques Lipchitz, André Masson, Joan Miró, Robert Motherwell, Edouard Pignon, and Fritz Wotruba.

This dazzling hand signed and numbered lithograph was printed in Zurich 1967 by Mattheu. The portfolio was completed in 1971 by the International Rescue Committee in Washington, D.C. This is the first time the print has been removed from it's original oversized blue portfolio case with the word "FLIGHT", which also featured the colophon pages and literary text. It is NUMBERED XII/XV (hors commerce) from the rare Deluxe Edition of only 15 in Roman numerals.

The Flight series was originally organized by American WWII hero Varian Fry, an International Rescue Committee representative in France during WWII, who rescued over 1,500 writers, artists, intellectuals, and over 2,000 other refugees. Among those Fry helped rescue were Hannah Arendt, Andre Breton, Marc Chagall, Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, Wand Landowska, Jacques Lipchitz, and Heinrich Mann. The International Rescue Committee was established in 1933 at the behest of Albert Einstein to aid European refugees escaping the Nazis.

"In so far as he (Aeneas) is heroic, he is heroic as the original Displaced Person, the fugitive from a ruined city and an obliterated society, of which the few other survivors except his own band languish as slaves of the Greeks." - T.S. Eliot (from the colophon page of the "Flight Portfolio").

William S. Lieberman, Director of Painting & Sculpture & Riva Castleman, Associate Curator of Prints & Illustrated Books at the Museum of Modern art single out this special print by Wifredo Lam on the colophon page. They write: "The spirit of war and displacement of mankind has been caught in other ways: into the familiar forms of Wifredo Lam is projected the sense of threat and terror that all who are forced to flee must feel...[the artist] surrounds his figures with an unreal and unidentifiable space. "

This rare lithograph from the Deluxe edition of only XV is sold in its original portfolio sleeve (see photo) as additional provenance.

Lam's works are represented in many important collections including the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim Museum (NYC) and the Tate (London); and have been shown in, Madrid (the Reina Sofia), Barcelona (the Fondation Miró), The Art Institute (Chicago), the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, the Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam), the Venice Biennale (1972), the Museo de Arte Moderno (Mexico), the National Museum of Modern Art (Tokyo), among many others. Lam is widely regarded as one of the most important artists of the 20th century. A particularly bright impression with desirable deckled edges so it can be beautifully floated and framed. In fine condition; never framed.


International buyers please inquire about shipping cost.

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Untitled (from the Deluxe Edition of the Flight Portfolio) by Wifredo Lam
  • Untitled (from the Deluxe Edition of the Flight Portfolio) by Wifredo Lam
  • Untitled, from the Deluxe Edition of the Flight Portfolio by Wifredo Lam
  • Untitled, from the Deluxe Edition of the Flight Portfolio by Wifredo Lam
  • Untitled, from the Deluxe Edition of the Flight Portfolio by Wifredo Lam
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