NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Works by Colombian artist Fernando Botero and Uruguay's Joaquin Torres-Garcia are expected to lead Christie's Latin American sale which includes nearly 350 works by artists from 16 countries.
"Colombian Landscape," Botero's 1986 landscape with a nude couple relaxing in a corner of a meadow, is expected to fetch up to $1.2 million in the sale that could surpass $20 million.
The seven-and-a-half feet wide painting tops the works from 145 artists that will be auctioned on May 26 and 27 at Christie's in New York.
Virgilio Garza, the head of Latin American Paintings at Christie's, said the Botero work is one of the best paintings to be sold in recent years and has never been at auction before.
"Botero often references his native Colombia background but never so explicitly as in 'Colombian Landscape.' While monumental in scale, this delicately rendered work depicts an intimate moment of a couple within this farm landscape that is intersected by a highway," he said.
"Formas trabajadas animicas," (Moodily fashioned forms), a 1933 painting by Torres-Garcia, a pioneering abstract artist, is valued at up to $800,000.
It suggests Andean textile and pottery design and Bronze Age artifacts from Spain, according to Christie's. The title refers to psychic undertones since the artist felt abstraction had spiritual and emotional properties.
Like Dutch artist Piet Mondrian, Torres-Garcia belonged to the Paris-based early 1930s group "Cercle et Carre" (Circle and Square), an early champion of abstract art.
"Offering of Fruits for the Temple," by Mexican Miguel Covarrubias, who is best known for streamlined, elongated celebrity portraits in prewar Vanity Fair, will also go under the hammer.
Set in Bali, the 1932 painting which features topless women balancing geometric baskets on their heads, has a pre-sale estimate of up to $300,000.
Jorge de la Vega's "Untitled" is expected to sell for a similar price. The work was painted by the leader of the Argentinean avant garde in 1966 during his nearly three-year stay in New York City.
"The Holy Trinity," which was anonymously painted in colonial Peru, depicts God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit as barefoot individuals of about the same age, with triangular halos.
"Images such as this one were used to propagate the Christian faith in the New World," according to Christie's.
The work has a high estimate of $30,000.