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May 30, 2008 

Christie’s New York evening sale of Latin American art on May 28, 2008, totaled $26,632,850, a record for any sale in the category. Of 80 lots offered, 66 were sold, or 83 percent. Christie’s expert Virgilio Garza called the auction "historic," noting that it demonstrates "the vitality and vigorous ascent of the Latin American art market."

The sale’s top lot was Rufino Tamayo’s Trovador (1945), which sold for $7,209,000 to an anonymous bidder, more than double the presale high estimate of $3 million and a new auction record for any Latin American artwork. The seller was Randolph College in Lynchburg, VA. Christie’s top ten also included works by Alfredo Ramos Martínez ($2,169,000), Claudio Bravo ($1,273,000) and Lenora Carrington, whose El Juglar (1954) sold for $713,000, a new record for the artist.

New records were established for Mario Carreño ($541,000), Jesús Rafael Soto ($481,000), Pedro Coronel ($457,000), Francisco Toledo ($265,000), Juan Soriano ($217,000), Gonzalo Fonseca ($157,000) and Kati Horna ($16,250).

With the results of Christie’s day sale of Latin American art on May 29 added in, the total jumps to $33,861,360, with 82 percent of the lots finding buyers.

Sotheby’s New York
evening sale of Latin American art on May 29, 2008, totaled $21,033,500, well above the presale high estimate of $17,945,000 and the highest total ever for a Latin American evening sale at the firm. Of 77 lots offered, 68 found buyers, or more than 88 percent.

Sotheby’s expert Carmen Melián called the market "buoyant," and noted that the sale featured five works by Rufino Tamayo, including the top lot, El Comedor de Sandias (1949), which sold to an anonymous buyer for $3,625,000. All five Tamayo works sold for a total of $6.3 million.

A new auction record was set for Joaquín Torres-García, whose Constructif Mysterieux (1932) sold for $1,721,000 (est. $1.1 million-$1.4 million) to Cavaliero Fine Arts, a private dealer with offices on West 36th Street in Manhattan. New auction records were also set for Argentine Cubist Emilio Pettoruti ($629,000) and the port-scene realist Benito Quinquela Martín ($421,000), as well as for kinetic artists Alejandro Otero ($409,000) and Carlos Cruz-Diez ($169,000). Additional records were set for Julio Le Parc ($313,000), Francisco Matto ($43,000) and Martha Boto ($37,000).

Sotheby’s New York day sale of Latin American art continues today.

Christie’s Hong Kong sales totaled $310.7 million, the highest in the category and a dramatic increase of 57 percent over Christie’s spring series in Hong Kong in 2007. No fewer than 50 lots sold for more than $1 million in the series of six sales, which were held May 25-29, 2008, and included auctions of jewelry and watches as well as ceramics and classical, modern and contemporary art. Christie’s CEO Edward Dolman noted that Hong Kong is a key global sales center alongside New York and London.

In the contemporary category, Christie’s sale totaled $104.6 million, a 33 percent increase over last year. The sale’s top lot was Zeng Fanzhi’s Mask Series 1996 No. 6, which sold for $9,662,114, a new record for any work of Chinese contemporary art. Records were also set for Yue Minjun, whose Gweon-Gweong sold for $6,934,018, and Subodh Gupta, whose Saat Samundar Paar sold for $1,190,658. In all, records were set for 29 Japanese artists, 10 Indian artists, 10 Korean artists and five Chinese artists.

Sotheby’s New York sale of American art on May 22, 2008, totaled $87,006,200, with 176 of 214 lots finding buyers, or more than 82 percent. Seventeen works sold for over $1 million, and new auction records were set for 14 artists. The market "is hungry for high quality works," said Sotheby’s expert Dara Mitchell. (Christie’s New York sale of American art on May 21 totaled $72.8 million).

Top lot was Edward HicksThe Peaceable Kingdom with the Leopard of Serenity (ca. 1846-48), which sold after extended bidding -- five minutes -- to an anonymous American buyer for $9,673,000, above the presale high estimate of $8 million. The price was a record for a work of American folk art at auction. This painting is clearly a particularly good example of one of more than 60 variants on the theme.

Other new records were set in the top ten for William Merritt Chase, whose I Think I Am Ready Now (The Mirror, the Pink Dress) sold for $6,649,000 (est. $1,500,000-$2,500,000), almost twice the artist’s previous auction record, and Frederic Remington, whose bronze cast of The Wounded Bunkie, sold to benefit an unnamed charity, went for $5,641,00 (est. $3,000,000-$5,000,000). William Sidney Mount’s The Ramblers sold for $2,281,000, and Charles C. Coleman’s Azaleas and Apple Blossoms sold for $2,281,000, both records for the artists.

More artist records were set for Blanch Lazzell ($505,000), Edmonia Lewis ($301,000), Francis Coates Jones ($181,000), Rubins Peale ($145,000), Margaretta Angelica Peale ($91,000), E. William Gollings ($169,000), Ray Swanson ($97,000) and Maria Peale ($40,000).

For complete, illustrated auction results, see Artnet’s signature Fine Art Auctions Report.

has acquired the Melbourne-based auction firm Leonard Joel, Australia’s third oldest auction house. Tim Goodman, chairman of Bonhams & Goodman, noted that he had long planned to consolidate the Australian auction business, a goal that he has achieved over the last four years by acquiring Bruce’s of Adelaide (established in 1878) and Stanley & Co. as well as Leonard Joel. The head of Joel, Warren Joel, is remaining as CEO under contract.

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