Stylized nudes expected to top Latin American art sales

Mon Nov 16, 2009 10:58am EST
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By Walker Simon

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - A bronze of a voluptuous nude holding a cigarette and a volcanic landscape strewn with lifeless limbs top this week's Latin American art auctions.

The New York sales at Christie's and Sotheby's follow strong auctions this month for Modern and Impressionist art, stirring hopes of a rebound in the Latin American art market after weak sales in the spring.

"The psychology of the market is different now ... than when there was collapse of the financial markets," said Christie's Latin American expert Virgilio Garza, referring to the slump in the stock market.

"People were careful then with spending, now there is more confidence."

"Endless Nudes," painted by Chile's Matta, could fetch up to $3 million, according to Sotheby's.

Inspired by Mexican volcanoes, the 1941 work is a turbulent mix of stylized limbs falling from a darkened sky into an earth of flashing yellows and reds, with swirls of green.

The work, according to Sotheby's, influenced budding U.S. abstract artists including Arshile Gorky and Jackson Pollock.

"Smoking Woman," a nearly 12-feet-long bronze sculpture by Colombian Fernando Botero, who known for celebrating large women with abundant curves, is valued at up to $1.2 million by Christie's.   Continued...